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All About The Real House That Inspired The 'Audience'

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657 Avenue in Westfield, New Jersey looked like a dream home. Derek and Maria Broaddus purchased the home for approximately $1.4 million in 2014.

Living in Westfield, which was ranked 99th on Bloomberg’s list of the 100 wealthiest cities in the US in 2018, was an upgrade for this young family, as they explained in an interview in New York Magazine. Built in the Dutch Colonial Revival style, the house had six bedrooms, four bathrooms, four fireplaces, and two patios.

Then the letters came. Over the course of a year and a half, the family received at least four threatening letters from a person calling himself “The Watcher.”

What was it so called Being the beginning of their new life was the beginning of something else: a series of lawsuits, investigations, and yes, letters. The couple never moved, instead selling the house in 2019.

Now their story is the inspiration for a Netflix show created by Ryan Murphy starring Bobby Cannavale and Naomi Watts as a fictionalized version of the Broadduses, Dean and Nora Brannock.

Here’s what you need to know about the real Westfield home and what happened to it after Broaddus was bought.

Broadduses never moved to 657 Avenue

Unlike the show where the Brannock family immediately moved into the house, the Broadduses decided to complete the renovation before they moved in.

Around this time, the family says they began receiving ominous typed letters from a person named “The Watcher.”

“Who am I?” The letter writer wrote in the first note to the Broaddus family. “There are hundreds and hundreds of cars passing through 657 Avenue every day. Maybe I’m in one. Look at all the windows you can see from 657 Avenue. Maybe I’m in one.”

As the months went by without the Broadduses, “The Watch” expressed displeasure at their absence: “657 Avenue looks forward to your move.”

Broadduses leased 657 Avenue in 2019 and later sold it

Selling their other home, the Broadduses continued to live with Maria’s mother in Westfield. They re-launched the house in 2017 and when they couldn’t sell it, they decided to rent the house.

Speaking to NJ.com in 2017, the tenant, known only by the name Chris, said he responded to the house ad without reading anything about “The Watcher.”

“I never followed… that’s not my problem,” the tenant said.

The house was sold in 2019 with a loss of approximately $400,000. Real estate agent Beth Sullivan of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage confirmed the purchase with TODAY, saying homeowners want to remain anonymous.

What did previous residents of 657 Avenue say about the house?

Built in 1905, before the Broaddus family moved in, the house had over 100 years of residents, some notable: William H. Davies, mayor of Westfield in the 1930s, once lived there.

Margaret Davis, who lived in the house from 1963 until her marriage in 1988, told NJcom in 2015 that she was surprised by the Watcher headlines.

“Sounds so weird,” Davis said. “We never experienced anything like this while we were there. We had a great time there.”

previous owner made Receiving a letter from the Watcher

The Broadduses bought the house from a couple named John and Andrea Woods, who moved in in 1990. Broadduses says one of The Watcher’s letters mentions them: “I asked the woods to bring me young blood, and they seem to have listened. ”

According to New York Magazine, Maria Broaddus reached out and Andrea Woods said that in their 23 years at home, they didn’t receive a letter until days before they moved in. Andrea said the letter looked “strange”.

The Broadduses filed a civil lawsuit in 2015 for not disclosing Woods about the letter, alleging that the couple were “so desperate to sell the million-dollar house” and that they “did not intentionally disclose this disturbing letter …”.

According to NJcom, in 2017 a Supreme Court judge dismissed the case’s three fraud charges, saying there was no evidence that Woods had deliberately withheld the letter.

The judge also dismissed all four counts in a counterclaim by Woods alleging that the Broadduses were deliberately trying to tarnish their reputations through the news.

But ‘The Watcher’ on Netflix was filmed in a different house

Dean and Nora Braddock’s home so called Being Westfield, but actually filmed in Rye, NY


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