The Watcher: True crime expert debunks the fact and fiction
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The Watcher has been airing on Netflix and the series follows the Brannock family as they move into their dream home at 657 Boulevard. The series is based on the terrifying events the Broaddus family faced when they first bought their home. True crime expert Isla Traquair sat down with This Morning presenters Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield to discuss the show and the real-life case.
There were four letters in real life
The Netflix series discloses what some of the sinister letters said as The Watcher made it clear they were stalking the house for many years.
Isla explained: “The truth is that there were four letters that were sent to the family, the first was received only two days after the closing of the house.”
The first letter read: “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.”
The whole family never moved in to the house
In the series, the letters do not start arriving until after the Brannocks and their two children have moved in.
They are sitting around the dining table as Ellie (played by Isabel Gravitt) reads the first letter aloud and her parents instantly feel uncomfortable.
Isla said: “There were renovations but the father did actually move in for a time because they had the alarm going off.”
In the series, the renovations are taking place after the family move in, yet in real life, only Derek Broaddus stayed there.
No one actually turned up inside the house
Throughout the Netflix series, various characters turn up inside 657 Boulevard uninvited, particularly Jasper Winslow (Terry Kinney).
In one iconic scene, he hides in the dumbwaiter and scares the youngest Brannock sibling, and is dragged out by Dean (Bobby Cannavale).
Later in the series, the mysterious John Graff (Joe Mantello) poses as someone overseeing the renovations and Dean finds him making himself at home in the kitchen.
When in fact, in real life, nobody turned up inside the house showing signs of suspicious behaviour.
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The Watcher had written to the previous owner
Isla explained that the eponymous stalker had reached out to the previous homeowner to praise them for keeping the house in its original state.
She said: “This writer had written to another resident of that property but it was just before they left and it was thanking them and praising them for looking after the house.
“So I think they objected to whatever the Broaddus’ were doing at the house and that’s why they got angrier and angrier and they decided ‘We can’t live here’.
“They were going to sell it and there was another, even more aggressive and quite scary [letter].”
The police were not as actively involved
In the series, the Brannocks are quick to go to the police and demand action is taken to protect their family.
An inspector agrees to send patrol cars out, almost hourly, to check for suspicious activity and several investigations were carried out.
However in real life, Isla said “the police weren’t really getting involved”, which is one of the reasons why the Broaddus family decided to hire a private investigator.
Sadly, their hard work did not amount to anything as the real identity of The Watcher was never discovered.
The Watcher is on Netflix now.
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