It sounds like something out of a horror movie. In the early summer of 2014, a New Jersey family bought their $1.3 million dream home in Westfield only to receive threatening letters from an anonymous stalker self-titled as “The Watcher.” They received the first letter three days after closing the deal to purchase the home.
“I am The Watcher,” the stalker writes, “and have been in control of (the house) for the better part of two decades now.” The Watcher goes on to say his grandfather watched the house in the 1920s and his father watched it in the 1960s. “It is now my time,” he adds. In following letters, he threatens the “young bloods,” the family’s three children, and asks which of them will be sleeping in the bedrooms facing the street, saying “It will help me to know who is in which bedroom then I can plan better.”
Along with the threats to the children and the overall creepiness of the letters, The Watcher hints at something hidden in the walls of the home and taunts the new owners for their recent renovations: “You have changed it and made it so fancy. It cries for the past and what used to be in the time when I roamed its halls, when I ran from room to room imagining the life with rich occupants there… Stop changing it and let it alone.”
Since the letters, the new owners have continued to make improvements on the home but refuse to move in. All of their efforts to sell the house have been useless because of The Watcher’s correspondence. A lawsuit and police investigation developed when the new owners of the home discovered the previous owner had received a letter from The Watcher before closing the deal on the house. Instead of informing the potential owners about the threat, the sellers withheld what they knew about The Watcher and sold the property to the ignorant new owners for over $1.3 million.
A month after details from the case were announced, The Watcher still remains unknown, and while the local police chief said they are pursuing leads, no suspect has been determined.
Westfield has had its own fair share of a creepy past. The house in The Addams Family was inspired by a local home, and the List murders are an ugly and well-known part of Westfield’s history. In 1971, John List murdered his mother, wife, and three children then left the bodies arranged in the home and fled. While the bodies weren’t found for another month, List was caught 18 years later in Virginia with a new wife who had no idea about his murderous past.