Have you heard about this unfortunate house? It’s been all over the news this past week.
If you aren’t in the loop, here’s a quick run-down of the situation:
This beautiful old home was for sale last year and a family with young children bought it for $1.3 million in early June, 2014. Just three days after they closed, they received the first of several menacing letters from someone claiming to be stalking the house. The letters read in part:
This house has been the subject of my family for decades. 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.
Have they found what is in the walls yet? In time they will … I am pleased to know your names now and the name of the young blood you have brought to me.
Will the young bloods play in the basement? 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.
The person responsible for the letters signed his/her name: “The Watcher”.
The family who purchased the home in Westfield, New Jersey were so affected by the ominous letters that they didn’t even move into the house. Instead, they tried to sell it in the months following their purchase. But they didn’t have any luck because word got out about “The Watcher” and his/her strange fixation with this house.
So the unlucky family resorted to filing a lawsuit in civil court this month against the previous owners of their home.
The plaintiffs claim that the former owners knew of the “The Watcher” threats and should have disclosed this to any potential buyers.
According to the lawsuit, the “plaintiffs have been consumed daily by stress, anxiety, and fear regarding what ‘The Watcher’ will do.”
The letters were investigated by police last year but they were unable to come up with any suspects.
House Crazy Sarah, being the ever-curious house lover that she is, decided to track this house down (on-line of course, she doesn’t do any real-life stalking) to find out what it looks like inside.
The house in Westfield, New Jersey is not currently listed on the market but I was able to find some of the old listing pictures from 2014. Have a look at what “The Watcher” thinks is his/her domain:
The house was built in 1905 and has many original features.
There are 6 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms in nearly 4,000 square feet.
This is the listing description:
This grand turn-of-the century home with many quality updates is situated on a stately street close to NYC transportation and award-winning downtown. Period features include high ceilings, coffered ceilings, elegant foyers, built-in window seats, fireplaces and more. The stunning master suite boasts a custom dressing room / closet and a renovated bath. Two porches, a covered, open front porch and an enclosed side sun-porch (27 x 11) with stone fireplace add to the inviting appeal. An open staircase leads to the third floor with sitting area, two bedrooms and renovated bath with skylight. A finished playroom is located in basement. Lots of updates within the past year including 2-zone cac. A list is available. Enjoy top-ranked Westfield schools and community!
Interesting that the blurb makes mention of the “playroom in the basement” – and The Watcher asked in one of his letters: “Will the young bloods play in the basement?” Hmmmm……..
Not sure what the crazy fiend had in mind when he/she/it wrote these letters, but they certainly were effective in vacating the house and ensuring that it won’t be sold anytime soon.
While perusing the comment sections of the news articles, I was highly entertained by the plethora of theories posited by readers.
Here are a few of my favorites:
– buyer’s remorse: the couple who bought the house could have created the whole thing to get out of what they thought was a bad deal
– The house is haunted by the ghost of past owners
– The house was built on an ancient Indian burial ground
– The letters are from Uncle Fester since the Addams family was from Westfield, NJ
– The letters are from an angry buyer who lost a bidding war for the house
– a stupid teenager
– a brilliant writer trying out an idea for a horror novel
– a house-flipper trying to get the price down so he can buy it
– a bitter neighbor
But by far, my favorite theory is this brilliant gem:
Hmmm I wonder if this new house was built on the property of the old house where the List family lived. John list murdered his entire family and went on the lam for 17 years. I don’t remember if the house burned down or it was purposely razed. Just a thought.
And one of the responses:
It is the same town as List murders. Interesting theory. Even if not true, it could make for a good horror movie plot: The murderer fakes his death in prison (kind of like that one Gilligan’s Island episode), escapes the morgue, and terrorizes the new inhabitants of his home (or the home built where the old home stood)
For the record, House Crazy Sarah, is in NO WAY involved in this, um, stalking stunt. There must be some other house crazy person out there. Not that House Crazy Sarah hasn’t driven by her former house a time or two…. but that’s different.
Ever wonder where Adolf Hitler lived?
He moved from place to place during his tenure as dictator of Nazi Germany, but the house where he spent the majority of his time during World War II – his happy place if you will – was called The Berghof. It was both his vacation home and his planning headquarters from 1935-1945. The Berghof was located in the Bavarian Alps near Berchtesgaden, Bavaria, Germany.
Spooky, ominous, regal and intimidating – The Dakota Building is one of New York City’s most iconic residential structures.
Located on the northwest corner of 72nd Street and Central Park West on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, this grand building occupies a prime spot overlooking Central Park.
It was built in 1884 when the Manhattan skyline was sparse and largely undeveloped…
One of the most confounding crimes of the 1970’s was the List family murders.
On November 9, 1971, John List shot and killed his wife, mother and three children in the house (pictured above) at 431 Hillside Avenue in Westfield, New Jersey. He left their bodies neatly lined up on Boy Scout sleeping bags in the grand ballroom.
He tuned the PA system on to a gospel music station and quietly slipped away into history. Almost.