‘The Watcher’ is Based on True Events, Here’s What Really Happened
Ryan Murphy has been having a great month. Not only has he secured one of the most-watched series on Netflix with Dahmer, he then counterpunched that accomplishment with yet another popular series called The Watcher.
Although people may already know that Dahmer is based on a real-life serial killer of the same name, they may not know that The Watcher is also inspired by real events.
The Netflix Series
The series follows a couple Nora and Dean Brannock, played by Naomi Watts and Bobby Cannavale respectively. They are excited about finding the perfect home in a neighborhood coveted by the privileged and wealthy. Willing to put their life savings on the line, Dean buys the gorgeous mansion much to the disdain of their neighbors.
Suddenly, strange things start to happen around the house that nobody can explain. To further the mystery ominous letters begin to be delivered to the couple saying the house needs “fresh blood” and warning against any renovations. These letters are signed “The Watcher,” and arrive periodically with increasing menace.
The Real Story
In 2018 an article was published in about a house located at 657 Boulevard in Westfield New Jersey. The story was about a family who was being stalked by a person who claimed to be in charge of overseeing the wellbeing of their new house.
The real-life Broaddus family of which the Netflix series is based never moved into the house after they purchased it for $1.4 million. The couple often visited the house with their children to do renovations, check the mail or talk to contractors, but they never officially moved in.
One day, on his many visits to the house, Mr. Broaddus checked the mailbox and what he found was just the first of many ominous letters from the phantom curator who assumed charge of the New Jersey property.
“657 Boulevard has been the subject of my family for decades now and as it approaches its 110th birthday, I have been put in charge of watching and waiting for its second coming. My grandfather watched the house in the 1920s and my father watched in the 1960s. It is now my time. Do you know the history of the house? Do you know what lies within the walls of 657 Boulevard? Why are you here? I will find out.”
From there, the letters started to become more personal, detailing the make of the family car and the names of the Broaddus’ children. The writer even chastised the couple’s renovation efforts:
“I see already that you have flooded 657 Boulevard with contractors so that you can destroy the house as it was supposed to be. Tsk, tsk, tsk … bad move. You don’t want to make 657 Boulevard unhappy.”
The couple called the police and even asked the previous owners who had also received a letter to join them. The police advised them not to tell anyone about the letters as it might hinder the investigation.
Still the letters came. One even teased the Broaddus family about their identity.
“Who am I? There are hundreds and hundreds of cars that drive by 657 Boulevard each day. Maybe I am in one. Look at all the windows you can see from 657 Boulevard. Maybe I am in one. Look out any of the many windows in 657 Boulevard at all the people who stroll by each day. Maybe I am one. Welcome my friends, welcome. Let the party begin” — The Watcher.
The letters became increasingly more threatening and creepy:
“657 Boulevard is anxious for you to move in. It has been years and years since the young blood ruled the hallways of the house. Have you found all of the secrets it holds yet? Will the young blood play in the basement? Or are they too afraid to go down there alone. I would [be] very afraid if I were them. It is far away from the rest of the house. If you were upstairs you would never hear them scream.
Will they sleep in the attic? Or will you all sleep on the second floor? Who has the bedrooms facing the street? I’ll know as soon as you move in. It will help me to know who is in which bedroom. Then I can plan better.
All of the windows and doors in 657 Boulevard allow me to watch you and track you as you move through the house. Who am I? I am the Watcher and have been in control of 657 Boulevard for the better part of two decades now. The Woods family turned it over to you. It was their time to move on and kindly sold it when I asked them to.
I pass by many times a day. 657 Boulevard is my job, my life, my obsession. And now you are too Braddus family. Welcome to the product of your greed! Greed is what brought the past three families to 657 Boulevard and now it has brought you to me.
Have a happy moving in day. You know I will be watching.”
Having had enough, the Broaddus family decided to sell the property in 2019 for well-under what they paid. The new owners have not reported receiving any new letters from the Watcher.
Although the case hasn’t been solved even with the help of the police department, private investigators and the Broaddus’ themselves, it remains open and the Watcher has yet to be identified.
America’s Most Haunted House Isn’t in Amityville
There is a haunted house in Bridgeport, Connecticut that doesn’t get the attention the one in Amityville does, but in 1974 it caused a media stir that captivated the country, and nobody ever talks about it, not even genre movie folks.
By the end of this story, you–like the many witnesses in 1974–will wonder what’s real and what isn’t.
What did happened inside this tiny house in the middle of the block on Lindley Street?
Before we get to that, let’s talk about the recent upswing in ghost story cinema and celebrity paranormal investigations, starting with James Wan’s Conjuring universe (a fourth film is currently in the works).
The Conjuring franchise has given us some great scares over the last decade. These “based-on-a-true-story” earmarks on haunted America, and across the pond, have re-invigorated the poltergeist pop culture phenomena that was so popular in the 70s.
Based on the real-life case files of Ed and Lorraine Warren, The Conjuring cinematic universe started with the Perron family in Rhode Island.
Although Mr. Warren died in 2006, Lorraine served as a consultant to The Conjuring. She maintained before her death in 2019 that she didn’t allow the filmmakers to take too much creative license. She asserted everything you see on screen is actually how it happened.
The sequel, Conjuring 2 moved to Britain and documented the famous Enfield haunting. That case involved two young sisters who were tormented by a ghost that threw things, spoke by way of possession and was just an overall supernatural baddie. Cops, priests and social workers went on record to confirm the reports. Lorraine also helped with that case.
Meanwhile, back in the U.S., the Lutz family was battling their own demons on a now-famous lot in Amityville. Again, the Warrens were on hand to assist.
966 Lindley Street
But there is another chilling tale that the Warrens were involved in that nobody talks about. It took place in Bridgeport at 966 Lindley Street in 1974 and it caused such a media circus the neighborhood would go on lock-down.
Reporters, witnesses, and other professionals would go on record saying they saw furniture move without provocation, hovering refrigerators, and physical attacks.
In the book “The World’s Most Haunted House,” writer Bill Hall takes a deep-dive into this case. What’s staggering is not only the bizarre happenings that took place, but they were so well documented by so many trusted sources.
Respected Witnesses Document Their Experiences
Firefighters and law enforcement agents have gone on record to say they witnessed everything from chairs moving on their own, crucifixes being ejected from their wall anchors, and knives being thrown by an invisible force. The activity seemed to center around a little girl.
Gerard and Laura Goodin lived in the small bungalow when they adopted their young daughter Marcia in 1968. It wasn’t long before strange things began to happen in the house–little things that people usually ignore. Still, the activity was strong enough to captivate the family.
People said when Marcia was around the events would intensify but even when she was gone things could get crazy.
The Goodin’s were subject to a loud rhythmic pounding in their walls, the source could never be located. Items would disappear from where they were left, only to be found in another spot in the house. Doors would slam. Police investigated the incidents but even they were perplexed after finding nothing.
The Media Frenzy
In 1974 the property was a hotbed of activity not only from the poltergeist but media attention. The Warrens were called in as was the American Society for Psychical Research and the Psychical Research Foundation.
Police were on hand 24 hours a day and interviewed the family. At that time there were reports of TVs being pushed from their stands, window blinds snapping up and down and shelves falling off the walls.
The public frenzy had started too. Onlookers would crowd the street in front of the haunted house to see if they could witness something for themselves. One citizen even tried to burn the house down. The entire street had to eventually be cordoned off.
At this time the entity reportedly showed itself. According to Hall’s book, it “resembled a large, cohesive assemblage of smoky yellowish-white ‘gauzy’ mist.”
The Cat Talks
Not only were there physical manipulations there were also audio phenomena. People reported hearing Sam the family cat say weird things like “Jingle Bells,” and “Bye Bye.” Outside plastic garden swans reportedly made frightening noises too.
The website Damned Connecticut also wrote about this story. In their comments section one person, Nelson P., claims to have worked in City Hall in 1974 in the records room of the Bridgepoint Police Department. They had this to say:
“…we gained a copy of a written report by an officer who was present when the paranormal s*it hit the fan on Lindley St. The most chilling account was when in his writing ‘and the cat said to the officer “How’s your brother Bill doing?, and the officer looked down and replied “My brother’s dead.” The cat then scowled “I know” swearing repeatedly at the officer then ran off. Other visual events in the report include a levitating refrigerator and an armchair that flipped over and could not be lifted back into place by the officers. One officer who witnessed it all took an immediate leave of absence having been that shaken by the experience. I today firmly believe these events took place in the home.”
Levitating Frigidaires and creepy cats aside, the whole thing came to an abrupt halt when a police officer allegedly saw Marcia try to tip over a television set with her foot when she thought no one was looking.
After questioning, Marcia eventually admitted to doing everything in the house on her own and the case was closed; deemed a hoax. Or was it?
Although her parents disputed the claim, Marcia was quick to admit her part in the “haunting.” But questions remained about how she could be in two places at once.
How respected witnesses saw things happen when Marcia wasn’t even in the house and why things continued to happen even after her confession.
The case was eventually forgotten and regarded as fraud.
Bill Hall’s book “The World’s Most Haunted House,” is the quintessential story about the Lindley haunting. His book includes unprecedented interviews from firefighters and other reputable witnesses who were there. They speak about their experiences and what they saw.
It’s been reported that Marcia, the girl behind the haunting, died in 2015 at the age of 51.
The house still stands in the same spot it did over 40 years ago and looks the same as it did back then. You can visit it personally. You can also type it into Google Maps.
But instead of bothering the current residents keep a safe distance away if you decide to go.
Whatever you believe, this haunted house case was definitely one for the history books if only for the attention it got from the public and the details professional eyewitnesses documented as it happened.
This story has been updated. It was originally posted in March 2020.
Paranormal Games: Red Door, Yellow Door
Let’s play a game: Red Door, Yellow Door
Also Known As Doors Of The Mind
Spooky games that border on the paranormal are a mainstay at slumber parties around the world. From light as a feather, stiff as a board… Doors of the Mind
to the classic Ouija board, we’ve all played at least one, but there are others out there, perhaps less well known, and one of the spookiest is Red Door, Yellow Door. Doors of the Mind
What is Red Door Yellow Door?
Sometimes this paranormal game is called Doors of the Mind or Black Door, White Door, and well, any other combination of colors, you can think of.
Red Door, Yellow Door takes two to play. However, it’s perfect for a late-night audience of scared teens, so it’s no surprise that it’s made a resurgence in recent years.
The Game Rules
The rules are simple, but the outcome could be dire, or so the urban legends claim.
One player is the guide, and the other is the subject.
- The guide sits on the floor, cross-legged with a pillow in their lap.
- The subject will then lie on the ground with their head in the guide’s lap and their hands raised in the air.
- The guide should, at this point, begin to massage the subject’s temples in a circular motion chanting, “Red Door, Yellow Door, any other color door” over and over again, joined by any witnesses to the game. Doors of the Mind
- As the subject slips into the trance, they will find themselves in a room in their mind and at that point, they should lower their arms to the floor signaling the guide and any witnesses to stop chanting.
The game has officially begun.
At this point, the person acting as the guide will begin to ask questions to the subject in order to get them to describe the room.
Any witnesses should be silent so that there is no sound except for the voice of the guide and the voice of the subject answering the guide’s question.
The instructor might ask what colors the doors to the room are, how they feel about the doors, and instruct them to go through varying doors into other rooms.
The subject is encouraged to answer all questions honestly until the guide decides to end the game, but there are some warnings and signs of danger to keep in mind.
Dangers To Keep In Mind Doors of the Mind
According to Scary for Kids:
- If you encounter people in the room, it may be best not to interact with them. They may be evil and try to trick you.
- If you find yourself in a room full of clocks, leave immediately. Clocks can trap you.
- You can go wherever you want, but it is safer to go up than down.
- Light things and light colors tend to be better than dark things and dark colors.
- If you should find yourself trapped in a room, you must try to wake up. If you don’t, you might be trapped forever.
- If you die in the game, you will supposedly die in real life.
- If you encounter a man in a suit who makes you uncomfortable, end the game immediately.
- If the guide is having a hard time waking the subject from the trance, they should shake them roughly to bring them into wakefulness.
Sounds creepy, right?!
The whole point of the Red Door, Yellow Door, seemingly, is to explore the inner workings of your own mind and to also understand that there are also dark sides to everyone.
Some of the things you might encounter inside the game may be those very things about yourself that you don’t wish to face.
Have you ever played Red Door, Yellow Door or any variation of this spooky game? Let us know in the comments!
This article has been updated. it was originally posted in February 2020.
Jean-Claude Van Damme Rumored to Appear as a Ghost in ‘Beetlejuice 2’
During The Hot Mic Podcast, the crew spoke about Jenna Ortega in talks to play Lydia’s daughter. Well, it turns out that the guys on Hot Mic also heard that an aging action star is set to play a ghost in the sequel as well. Over on Arrow in the Head, the direction of the aging action star immediately took the shape of Jean-Claude Van Damme. However, there are options out there that may point to other action stars like Sylvester Stallone. To be honest we would be totally fine with either of these guys coming to the world of Beetlejuice and playing a ghost.
The synopsis for Beetlejuice went like this:
After Barbara (Geena Davis) and Adam Maitland (Alec Baldwin) die in a car accident, they find themselves stuck haunting their country residence, unable to leave the house. When the unbearable Deetzes (Catherine O’Hara, Jeffrey Jones) and teen daughter Lydia (Winona Ryder) buy the home, the Maitlands attempt to scare them away without success. Their efforts attract Beetlejuice (Michael Keaton), a rambunctious spirit whose “help” quickly becomes dangerous for the Maitlands and innocent Lydia.
We can’t wait to find out if this bit of info is true. So far, we know that Jenna Ortega has been in talks to play Lydia’s daughter in the Tim Burton directd sequel. It will also see a return of Michael Keaton.
We will be sure to keep you updated on future Beetlejuice sequel updates.