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The true story behind Netflix’s The Watcher: Here’s what really happened (and what didn’t)

EW breaks down fact versus fiction in Ryan Murphy’s horrifying TV series inspired by a real family that received threatening letters from an anonymous stalker.

Movement is resistance. But getting a letter from a stalker after settling into your new home is hell. The story at the heart of Ryan Murphy’s new Netflix series starring Naomi Watts and Bobby Cannavale may sound like twisted fiction, but it’s about a wealthy suburb starting a new life in idyllic Westfield.
The True Story Behind Netflix's The Watcher | Time

Did Someone Call Themself “The Watcher” Really Torment A New Jersey Family?

New Jersey is deeply rooted in the real-life story of the family. The house quickly turned into a nightmare after an anonymous person began dropping threatening letters in her mailbox shortly after her arrival. Below, EW breaks down the highlights of the show and the true story behind them, getting to the bottom of what the show has invented for (certainly petrified) art.

Without this basic true crime story, the TV series wouldn’t exist. As detailed in a 2018 article published by The Cut, in 2014 Derek and Maria Broaddus (portrayed as Dean and Nora Brannock in the series by Cannavale and Watts) met at 657 Boulevard in Westfield, New Jersey. I moved to (the same address used by the program).

The True Story Behind Netflix's The Watcher | Time

They received a series of eerie letters from an anonymous stalker who claimed to be the guardian of the building, an ordeal simmering between Broaddus and her children with strange neighbors and extreme paranoia. turned into a year-long tale of dramatic clashes with Their names were changed for the series, which heavily embellishes their lives and other details of his horror story, but the Watcher’s writers said that Broaddas would be better, including the part about Watchers who want “young blood”.

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Are Creepy Neighbors Jasper And Pearl Based On Real People?

Apparently yes. In the show, Jasper (Terry Kinney) and Pearl Winslow (Mia Farrow) are the first strange neighbors Nora and Dean meet upon their arrival in Westfield. Rather than formally greeting them, Jasper meets the family after plucking the head from a dumbwaiter and makes disturbing claims about the human skeleton, saying that a baby’s skeleton “has 100 more bones than an adult’s skeleton.”

He appears several times throughout the series, mainly after entering a private residence without permission Brannock’s son finds him hiding in a dumbwaiter at night and robs him of the property without permission.

However, Pearl promises that his previous owner allowed him to pursue him and explore freely. Pearl and Jasper appeared to be based on the Langford family, who were described in Cut Pieces as “a bit eccentric.”

Brothers Michael and Abby Langford, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia, had been living together since the 1960s. He lived next door with his mother, Peggy. I support their suspicions. And while it’s a nice touch to lead to some effective scares in the show, the original article makes no mention of the dumb waiter at 657 Boulevard.

Mitch and Mo: Did Neighbors Actually Watch The Family From Lawn Chairs, And Were They In A Baby-Eating Blood Cult?

Yes, fortunately only the first part. Characters Mitch (Richard Kind) and Moe (Margo Martindale) are effectively comedic reliefs (Moe (Margo Martindale) by the fence of the Brannock family with her husband in a matching tracksuit).
There’s nothing more fun than standing up and calling your neighbor “mother”) and she balances genuine anxiety throughout her multiplayer. As part of the show’s arc, her actions are also based on those of real people. Broaddus house painter Bill Woodward reported seeing the couple who lived behind 657 Boulevard sitting in his two lawn chairs across from the house.
The true story of The Watcher on Netflix: What's fact or fiction |
“I was looking out the window one day and saw this older man sitting in one of the chairs,” Woodward told Cut. Instead of standing in front of Broaddus.” However, there is no evidence that the real couple was involved in a satanic cult of killing babies and drinking their blood, as one character accused.

The finale: Did they ever find the real Watcher, and what happened to the house?

The final moments of the series extend the final words of the cut article. The show ends with Dean surveilling his former home and lying about his whereabouts in a phone call with Nora. Even after they left home, he still felt “like cancer” every day. The work ends with a quote from the fourth letter. And The Watcher win” Both pieces pay tribute to this feeling, albeit in different ways.

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