Warning: Colossal spoilers ahead!
The Watcher is a Netflix series based on the true story of the Broadduses, a family that received a series of disturbing letters after purchasing a home in 2014.
The letters and the saga that ensued were documented in a 2018 New York Magazine article that detailed the creepy contents of the letters. After years of investigations and all kinds of twists and turns, the culprit was never found … Or is it all a cover-up?
While the Netflix series is considered to be a work of fiction, its premise closely follows what happened in real life.
The True Story
After purchasing a stately, six bedrooms house in the affluent town of Westfield, New Jersey, the Broaddus family started receiving bizarre and increasingly threatening letters from a stalker named The Watcher.
The first letter alluded to the long history of the house and the potential secrets it might hold. More disturbingly, the letter also mentions the three children of the family, calling them “young blood”. Here’s the first letter.
Dearest new neighbor at 657 Boulevard, allow me to welcome you to the neighborhood. How did you end up here? Did 657 Boulevard call to you with its force within?
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.
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.
You have children. I have seen them. So far I think there are three that I have counted.
Do you need to fill the house with the young blood I requested? Better for me. Was your old house too small for the growing family? Or was it greed to bring me your children? Once I know their names I will call to them and draw them too [sic] me.
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,
In short, this letter is a parent’s worst nightmare. Two weeks later, the family finds a second letter. And it is worse.
I am pleased to know your names now and the name of the young blood you have brought to me. You certainly say their names often.
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.
Judging by the contents of this letter, The Watcher lives close to the house and has intimate knowledge of it. Despite the fact that there can’t be that many suspects, police were never able to pinpoint the author. That’s especially baffling considering that the letters were delivered in lick-sealed, handwritten envelopes.
Some believe that this is all a cover-up and that the police are in on it. The Netflix series takes this premise and takes it to some very dark places.
Created by Ryan Murphy (American Horror Stories), The Watcher incorporates facts from the real story while introducing several disturbing elements … that might be true. For instance, in the series, The Watcher is suspected to be a member of a satanic cult that extracts adrenochrome from babies in occult rituals. This might sound like a reach. However, the real letters did repeatedly lust over the children’s blood.
Beyond the actual letters, the series explores various themes relating to modern society, turning this story about a family buying a house into a commentary on the pitfalls of modern life. Indeed, as the series progresses, the house ends up representing a toxic society controlled by a twisted elite while the Brannocks represent the typical American family that attempts to flourish inside of it. Here’s a deeper look at the themes of the series.
In the series, it is quickly established that the Brannocks are buying a house that’s too expensive for them. Wanting to offer their children a spacious house in a safe neighborhood, the Brannocks used all of their savings, stocks, and IRAs to finance the house.
To justify his decision, Dean says:
“This is America, right? Everybody buys a house they can’t afford”.
Right from the start, we are introduced to one powerful way society is controlled by the elite: Crippling debt.
The Brannocks quickly realize that they don’t “belong” in that house and the elite society it represents. Then, they receive a letter from The Watcher (the same real-life letter quoted above) that confirms this fact.
When they go to the police, the Brannocks realize that something is off.
The detective strongly encourages the Brannocks to install cameras around the house to feel more secure.
While the cameras are there for “security”, they also cause the Brannocks to be watched at all times. Like many other themes in this series, this can be applied to society in general.
There’s another important theme in the series that can be applied to society in general: The sexualization of minors.
Sexualizing the Girl
A major storyline in the series involves the sexualization of 16-year-old Ellie Brannock and her father’s reaction to it. While this narrative has nothing to do with the true story of The Watcher, it fits perfectly the wider meaning of this series: The corruption of American society.
Shortly after moving in, Ellie finds lipstick inside the house and immediately puts it on.
The words “Hey, sailor” are not random flirtatious words. There’s some history behind these words.
“Hello, sailor” is a sexual proposition made to a sailor, presumably by a prostitute or promiscuous woman supposing the sailor to be male and sexually frustrated after a long time at sea.”
-En-Academic, “Hello, sailor”
In short, the house (which represents an elite-controlled society) “offered” Ellie the lipstick which represents her sexualization.
Then, things get rather uncomfortable. While Ellie puts on lipstick and imitates a prostitute, her parents are having sex in the other room. However, they are interrupted by Ellie calling them.
So they stop and go see her. Dean, whose presumably still hot and bothered by the interrupted sex, starts obsessing about his daughter’s lipstick.
Then, the series dedicates lots of time playing around with the taboo of a minor getting involved with an adult.
In a later scene, Ellie lures Dakota into a pool and asks him to kiss her. Then Dakota asks:
– How old are you?
– See, I’m 19. I could get in trouble.
– Yeah, well, then, that just makes it more exciting doesn’t it?
Then they kiss. That’s the kind of dialog a pedo would come up with.
Meanwhile, Ellie’s father is increasingly obsessing over his daughter’s sexualization. And his wife finds it weird. She tells her friend:
“It’s Ellie. The way he talks to her. She’s a teenager now, and he just rides her. You know, if her shirt falls off her shoulder … it’s ridiculous, its weird.
And then he gets all defensive, saying things like “I don’t want my daughter to be sexualized”. And, I’m like, “you’re the one who’s sexualizing her. She’s just being a child”.
To sum up this storyline: The house (which represents the elite’s society) offers Ellie the “tool” for her sexualization. After getting involved with an adult, her father attempts to stop all of that. However, he gets accused of obsessing over her sexuality, leaving him feeling angry yet powerless.
In the end, this all falls into the elite’s wider plans of normalizing the sexualization of minors. Because they’re pedophiles who prey on children. And you don’t even know half of it.
They don’t only want to sexualize children. They want their blood.
In an attempt to gather more information about The Watcher, Dean Hannock meets up with Andrew Pierce, a previous owner of their house. He tells him that the house – and the entire neighborhood – holds dark disturbing secrets.
Pierce shows Dean Brannock a letter he received from The Watcher.
“Will you sacrifice your wife or son? The house prefers young blood. It may be old now, but it still lives. As do I. And I will make sure this house endures no matter the cost. Soon, you will need to choose, Mr. Pierce. You must present a blood offering.”
Apparently, to be accepted into that house, blood must be offered. Then, Pierce explains what happened when the neighbors babysat his son.
“He was over at Mitch and Mo’s. Said he was playing in their bedroom and he went down to the living room and there were all these old people, standing in a circle, in long red robes. And they’re chanting. And, in the middle of the circle, there’s this little baby on an altar. They had slit its throat. They were drinking its blood.”
He explains to Dean:
– They are drinking the blood of children.
– I’m sorry. Why are they doing this again? To look younger?
– I looked it up. There are these cults, right, and there is something in the blood called adrenochrome that’s excreted from the body by fear and they f*cking feed off of it.
Pierce also explains that there are secret tunnels leading to the basement of the house.
Considering the fact that the house represents an elite-controlled society, the fact that there are tunnels in the basement is highly symbolic. It represents the secret network of blood-sucking pedophiles that operate right in society’s “basement”.
While Dean is uncovering these disturbing truths, he’s also kind of losing it. Especially because he cannot prove any of it conclusively and authorities refuse to investigate these claims. In other words, he’s turning into a stereotypical “conspiracy theorist”.
Worried about the sexualization of his daughter, his neighbors being adrenochrome Satanists, and The Watcher taunting him, Dean wants to know the truth. However, this obsession is costing him. He cannot focus on work, he cannot please his wife and he’s becoming highly irritable.
Meanwhile, his family is turning against him.
Of course, everybody sees the video, and Dean’s reputation is destroyed.
In short, the Brannock family (who lives in a house that represents the elite’s society) is on the verge of imploding. Considering the fact that the elite is in an all-out war against the nuclear family, this makes sense.
In the end, the Brannocks eventually sell the house and move back to New York City. While the family stayed together, its issues are not solved. Dean remains obsessed with The Watcher and cannot get on with life without solving the case. He knows that there’s a deeper truth out there but he cannot prove it – a fact that drives him mad.
Despite the fact that they’re out of the house, they’ve been “infected” by its evil energy.
On a wider scale, once the masses get in contact with the elite’s society, they get infected by it. Even after realizing that it is highly toxic, they cannot help but be fascinated and wonder about the dark forces behind it all.
While The Watcher appears to be a series about a haunted house, the themes tacked on to the story give it another dimension. In The Watcher, the house represents a society controlled by a sick occult elite. To represent this fact, a satanic cult that lusts for “young blood” has access to the house using tunnels.
The Brannocks moving into that house represent the American family attempting to flourish in the elite’s society. However, there are many pitfalls. The family is now financially vulnerable, it is constantly monitored through cameras, the daughter becomes sexualized and the wife thinks that she can do better. On top of it all, they realize that “respected members of the community” are actually Satanists who crave the blood of children.
In short, The Watcher is the occult elite laughing at you. Through symbolism, they’re telling you how they poison society and break down families. They tell you that you might be right for pointing this out but you’ll still be called crazy for doing so.
And, as you watch this Netflix series about people obsessing over the elite, you realize that they’re turning everyone into … watchers.