The seven best theories people have about the real life case of The Watcher

I won’t rest until I have some ANSWERS

The Watcher is number one on Netflix right now. And I’d take a wild guess at that being because the case is pretty much everyone’s worst nightmare, and it’s based on a true story. Spoiler alert, but The Watcher was never found – so this means the case is surrounded by theories of who people think the mysterious letter sender could have been.

From neighbours who were investigated at the time, to people thinking the whole thing could be an elaborate hoax – there are a lot of wild ideas being thrown around where this story is concerned. Here is a rundown of all the theories in the real life case of The Watcher, as to who the letters might have been coming from.

The best theories about the real life The Watcher case

via Netflix

DNA results said The Watcher was a woman

In the show we saw the family do DNA testing on the envelopes, which concluded The Watcher was a woman. This is true in the real life case. According to The Cut, DNA analysis determined the letter was apparently licked shut by a woman. It was believed The Watcher was local, but The Broadduses were told DNA samples obtained from several suspects, who were neighbours, weren’t a match.

The journalist behind the original story about the house says the most interesting theory is about a local school teacher

via Netflix

Remember the English teacher from the show who had his class write love letters to a local house? Well his character is based on a real person, and the journalist who wrote the original story about The Watcher thinks this is a pretty credible theory. The Netflix series is based on an article in New York Magazine, and the author has said in a update “the most intriguing new theory I heard involved a local teacher.”

The real life teacher is called Robert Kaplow, and he taught English at Summit High School, a school near the Westfield area. Kaplow is also a writer, and one of the pieces he is known for is Me and Orson Welles, which is filled with references to the Westfield area – where The Watcher case happened.

The Cut article added: “Over the years, Kaplow had told a story to his students that now struck many of them as curious. The story was about a particular house in Westfield and Kaplow’s obsession with it.” A former student told The Cut “he had this idea to start writing letters to the house — not the occupants, but to the house.” Another student said Kaplow once told them he had sent more than 50 letters to the house in question.

Robert Kaplow has always denied the claims he has anything to do with The Watcher case, and told The Cut “there’s nothing there” in reference to all the rumours.

The best theories about the real life The Watcher case

via Netflix

Reddit has theories The Watcher is just a random local

Reddit has done what Reddit does best, and come up with some theories to do with The Watcher. Under a thread called “My Theory of The Westfield Watcher”, one person said the case reminded them of something near where they grew up. In the case, a wealthy family was sending anonymous threats to the local town basketball coach for not playing their teenage son. The threats were often made towards the coach’s family and children. David and Nanci Kushner were charged with stalking and harassing their son’s coach.

The person on Reddit thinks the Westfield case could be similar – a neighbourly grudge. “The Watcher is not a mentally deranged stalker, but some wealthy suburbanite who has petty personal issues with the Broadduses or the old owners of the house,” they said.

Another theory says it could have been a rival buyer for the house

This theory is explored a little in the Netflix series. We saw how, after it became public knowledge the family had been receiving letters from The Watcher, the price of the house rapidly declined and nobody was making offers. So, it would make sense that the letters could have been coming from someone who wanted the house for themselves, but knew the market would be expensive and competitive.

via Netflix

The real private investigator for the family believed the letters were coming from a neighbour

Just as we saw the family in the Netflix series do, the real life Broaddus family hired a private investigator to look into their case. According to CNN, they had suspected a neighbour was behind sending the letters. Derek Broaddus has added the investigator also believed the person was in their 50s or 60s.

A next-door neighbour, called Michael Langford, was a name thrown around in the case before. He was never named a formal suspect, or found of committing any wrongdoing.

One of the main theories about The Watcher actually says it could all be a lie

Ok, so one of the biggest theories is genuinely that the family made the whole thing up. The journalist who broke the story of the house said it “makes no logical sense” that it would all be a lie, but, this is something they are asked most of all. There’s also a theory the Broaddus family themselves might have been behind the letters, but this one doesn’t seem to have any evidence or reasoning.

The best theories about the real life The Watcher case

via Netflix

One of the theories the Netflix show hints at is that The Watcher could be whoever lived in the house before any new owners

By the end of the Netflix series, we see that The Watcher has completely taken over the family’s lives. It’s hinted that now Dean, portraying real life Derek, may have even written letters to the new owners of their old house. So, this raises the theory that The Watcher is in fact always the previous owner of the home.

The letters mention greed being behind the new person owning the home, so maybe the previous homeowner is jealous after being pushed out and at a loss financially? The first letter also said The Watcher had been the sender’s grandfather, then their father, which hints at the letter sending being passed down, like a role. It would also make sense as to why in real life the letters stopped at the Broaddus family – who were clearly so distressed and wanted to leave the whole saga behind them, they wouldn’t carry it on.

The Watcher is available on Netflix now. For all the latest Netflix news, drops, quizzes and memes like The Holy Church of Netflix on Facebook. 

Related stories recommended by this writer:

Is The Watcher teacher Roger Kaplan based on a real person? Here’s what we know about him

• The Watcher’s John Graff is based on a true story of a family murder, here’s what happened

• Who lives at 657 Boulevard now? What happened to real house from The Watcher on Netflix