Have you guys read “The Watcher” lawsuit? This thing is terrifying. Some guy has been sending creepy letters to a couple who just moved into their new home. He calls himself “The Watcher” and says that their house “has been the subject of my family for decades.” He says he knows the names of their two young children and “I am pleased to know your names now, and the name of the young blood you have brought to me.” He asks if their children have found “what’s in the walls,” yet.
Next level, scary s**t. The couple, Derek and Maria Broaddus, rightly fled their home. That’s the right move. I lived in Amityville for a time when I was growing, home of the Amityville Horror House. I’ve always said, at the point where the toilet tells me to “get out,” it’s not going to have to ask me twice.
This horror story has a messed up twist. As I said, the couple who currently owns the house only recently moved in. They bought the house last year. There have been previous owners! And, yes, it turns out the previous owner knew about this Watcher fellow before they sold, and allegedly didn’t say anything to our unsuspecting current owners.
The “lawsuit” is not against the Watcher — who would surely be jailed and locked in the Ecto-Containment Protection Grid if the cops could catch him. The Broaddus couple is suing the previous owners for selling them a goddamn haunted house!
It’s actually well established law that you cannot sell a house that you know to be “haunted” without telling the buyers. Sellers always have a duty to disclose faults with the property that are not easily visible: termites, underground oil tank, that kind of thing.
The famous case here is the “Ghostbusters ruling,” Stambovsky v. Ackley. There, the owners told Reader’s Digest that their house was haunted by “poltergeists.” Notwithstanding the corporeal reality of ghosts, the court ruled that the house was legally haunted and the owners had a duty to tell potential buyers of the house’s status.
I’ve made fun of these laws before. You can’t sell a house you know to be haunted without telling anybody, but you can sell a house you don’t think is haunted, unless the buyers ask you. Then you have to say “I dunno, maybe?”
Fine, but the Broaddus’ aren’t claiming that their home is actually haunted, they’re claiming that it is being menaced by a crazy person. Courts have in fact held that sellers have a duty to disclose problem neighbors who have had previous conflicts with the owners. Even though the definition of a “problem” neighbor can be very subjective, in general if you know about something or somebody who has a “claim” against your property, you have to disclose.
This feels like a slam dunk “problem neighbor” case. “The Watcher” is a real dude, not a ghost (most likely). The previous owners allegedly received a letter from this guy in May, 2014. They closed with the Broaddus’ in June, 2014. That’s just what the Broaddus’ allege. Fact is, we don’t know how long the previous owners might have known about this guy. But if it was any time before closing... it sure seems like they had a duty to disclose that a creepy f**ker was all up in their business.
Meanwhile, [Brad Pitt voice, on] WHAT’S IN THE WALLS? Can we get these people some wall x-ray tech while they wait for their case to move through the court system? Could the cops, I don’t know, catch this guy? These people are living in a real life horror movie. Can somebody help them, please?
If none of this freaks you out, please buy the Broaddus’ house. I’m sure they’re ready to sell.
[Also on Above the Law: The Haunted House Always Wins]
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