The Watcher of Westfield New Jersey
Some local news in my parts. The story is that a couple and their three kids move into a nice house in the quiet town of Westfield, NJ. It’s pretty nice digs, nice neighborhood, things are looking pretty promising. Then the family begins to receive some strange letters in the mail.
The letters aren’t some friendly ‘welcome to the neighborhood’ greetings or township info about garbage collection. These letters are sinister and strange. They come from someone calling themselves ‘The Watcher’, who apparently is taking quite an unsettling interest in this particular house and its occupants.
The family began receiving anonymous letters about a year ago soon after they bought the house. The letters stated that this ‘Watcher’ was put in charge of watching the house, like their father had done in the 1960’s and their grandfather in the 1920’s.
The letters got more creepy with the Watcher asking – “Why are you here? I will find out.” And saying, “I asked the (previous owners) to bring me young blood. I am pleased to know your names now and the name of the young blood you have brought me. Who has the bedrooms facing the street? I’ll know as soon as you move in.”
Well, I guess by the time the third Watcher letter arrived the family had enough. They didn’t feel too comfortable moving into this ‘Watched House’ and filed a lawsuit seeking damages for fraud and breach of contract, saying the previous owners should have told them that the house was under the eyes of this Watcher.
Is there legitimate danger the new unsuspecting homeowners have found themselves in? Is there more to the house than just it’s six bedrooms and three baths? Is The Watcher some bored kid who just watched too many cheesy horror movies and thought he’d freak out the new residents in his neighborhood? Or could The Watcher letters just be a silly scam by the home owners?
I go with the theory it’s just some stupid neighborhood folk doing it who is the least threatening individual you could possibly imagine. There’s no real sinister reason as to why they’re doing it to this house. It could be something really stupid, like the moving van was blocking their driveway one day and it irritated them.
I figure it’s probably someone older doing it, since I don’t think kids know how to write and mail letters anymore. Prank phone calls sure. Letters….kids probably wouldn’t even know where to buy a stamp!
This Watcher story has gotten some major attention and has become national news. It also put Westfield back in the spotlight. The last time the town got this much attention was when John List murdered his mother, wife and three children in a Westfield mansion in 1971. That kind of notoriety really catches people’s attention.
I found this story odd for a lot of reasons. It’s no surprise people hooked onto this Watcher story. Everyone loves a good mystery and really there’s not too many decent mysteries around nowadays. That’s why I think the story of the Poe Toaster has fascinated people for so long.
Plus, everyone can sympathize with being annoyingly watched. I always hate the uncomfortable feeling I get when someone is staring at me! Or like, you know how you suddenly feel like someone is watching you from behind? You don’t see them, but you just get that feeling someone is staring at you. It’s hard to concentrate when someone is zeroing their eyeballs on you.
It’s not just the watching annoyance, but this Watcher stuff also has a bit of horror to it. What if this person decides not to just watch anymore! That kind of threatening potential sets the stage for some horrific scenarios to take place. Things have taken a pretty spooky turn. The house should get lots of trick-or-treaters every year from here on out.
Now suddenly this innocent looking house has a veneer of evil about it. Just the suggestion by this kook asking, “Have they found what is in the walls yet? In time they will.” – makes your imagination start wandering. How are you supposed to relax in your new digs when you can’t help but start to think, ‘I wonder if there’s a propped up skeleton in the back of that closet’.
Imagination is a powerful thing. When we’re little and have the idea that there’s a monster under our bed and don’t want our feet to hit the floor or else they’ll make a grab for us and pull us under is strong stuff. I’m not sure if that visceral fear ever leaves us – no matter how reasonable or intelligent we think we are.
There’s always that primal fear deep in everyone that can be lit like a fuse by something. Well, maybe some are able to scoff at it, but there’s plenty of people who can get freaked out with just the mere suggestion of something.
That’s probably why horror movies are so popular. Which, oddly enough some studios are looking into buying the rights to this Watcher story to make a big-screen horror movie out of it. How nutty is that? I can’t help but think about the huge difference between haunted house movies of the past to this Watcher story.
Back in the day families would move into a house and some real crazy stuff would happen! Swarms of flies would fill rooms, evil pigs stared through windows, fathers became ax-wielding possessed minions, daughters got sucked into television sets, trees devoured sons, moms rolled around on ceilings. And still families would stay in the house! Here, three oddball letters send the family running.
For the movie adaptation of ‘The Westfield Watcher’ they definitely have to jazz this story up. It would be pretty lame if the mailman sauntering up the walk in slow-motion and delivering a letter is the tension-filled climax.