The Watcher is still trending on Netflix – we share 5 real-life housing horror stories

It could happen to you...

house from The Watcher netflix series
(Image credit: Netflix)

In Netflix's real-estate thriller The Watcher – gobbled up by millions this spooky season – the Brannock family move into a dream suburban home that turns into a nightmare. Threatening letters and ghostly goings-on are the last things anyone wants when moving house

Somewhat alarmingly, 86% of estate agents surveyed by Giraffe360 would happily list a haunted house for sale. And, get this, 20% would even add a 'haunted house price premium' for potential buyers – ghastly. With Halloween around the corner, we've rounded up 5 real-life house horror stories.

A haunted house move

bricked exterior of house with dark front door and railings

(Image credit: Future PLC / Rachael Smith Photography Ltd)

One homeowner from Harrogate told The Property Buying Company a spooky story about when footsteps chased them out of their house on moving day. 'The house was completely empty, not one piece of furniture left, and everyone had left for the last time except me. I was the last person to walk around the house, check all lights were off, and check all belongings had been picked up, before handing the keys over to the next residents,' they say.

'I began to do my checks, and I really mean it, the house was empty. It was an old, 3-floor terrace house, so it was quite creaky, so much so that you could hear footsteps on the landing above you if you were downstairs, this was very normal. This particular day, once I’d checked the house, I made my way downstairs to leave one final time. 

'This is where I heard the creaking of footsteps in the hallway directly above my head, it stopped me in my tracks. I looked above me and could make out the steps heading towards the top of the stairs that were leading down to the room I was standing in, I stood frozen still. After a short period of silence, the footsteps proceeded to run down the stairs as fast as they could, causing me to run to the front door, and I could hear them stomping behind me as I ran. I ran out the door, locked up, and never looked back. Were they chasing me out the door?'

A ghostly great aunt's

exterior with front door and brick wall

(Image credit: Future PLC/ David Giles)

Slamming doors and a radio that turns on on its own were some of the supernatural happenings another homeowner in Harrogate faced. 'My great aunt owned a big 3-story terraced house, she was extremely old fashioned and didn't own a TV so she would sit and read or listen to the radio,' they say. 'One time, my brother was running up the stairs while looking down at the stairs as he was running so that he wouldn't trip, and he stopped dead in his tracks because he saw two old lady's legs standing on the next step up, wearing patent shoes with gold buckles, he looked up and no one was there, so ran back down absolutely terrified.

'My mum said she could always sense that there was a presence too, and it made her really uneasy about going to visit. I also didn't like it either because it gave me the creeps. When my great-aunt passed away, my mum went round to clear her house out, and she was sorting through some drawers in her room she felt a massive gust of wind go through her and then the bedroom door slammed, but there were no windows open. After this, the radio would play on its own accord. We put the house straight on the market.'

The Battersea poltergeist

battersea power station at night and passing train

(Image credit: Alamy)

The haunting of No. 63 Wycliffe Road in 1957, the home to the Hitchings family, made the headlines and has since become the subject of a BBC Radio 4 horror podcast. The ordinary family home in Battersea was allegedly visited by a poltergeist (which translates 'noisy ghost' in German), creating deafening bangs day and night and scratching that sounded like it came from within the furniture and the headboard. The case went on for 12 years and even saw marks made on the walls, written notes from a ghost and fires breaking out.

The Hostel

The most famous haunted house in Hull found at 39 de Grey Street, nicknamed The Hostel, has had lots of visits form the general public. From items being thrown around the room, hair being touched, feelings of sickness and being hit on the head, this 7-bedroom house has had its fair share of unearthly activity.

657 Boulevard, Westfield

house from The Watcher netflix series

(Image credit: Netflix)

The real story that inspired Netflix's The Watcher began in 2014 when Derek Broaddus and Maria Broaddus claimed they were receiving hostile letters in the post at their home in Westfield, New Jersey. The family moved their belongings in, but never lived at the house because of the threatening letters from someone who called themselves 'The Watcher'. The case remains unsolved, and the story clearly captivated us, with The Watcher hitting 125 million hours viewed in the first five days.

You'd think a ghost would make selling a house a nightmare, but Hammonds Furniture's study showed that homes near to spooky spots are, on average, priced 12% higher than the average home in the same region. So sharing a postcode with the paranormal might not be such a deal breaker...

Millie Hurst
Senior Content Editor

Millie Hurst was Senior Content Editor at Ideal Home from 2020-2022, and is now Section Editor at Homes & Gardens. Before stepping into the world of interiors, she worked as a Senior SEO Editor for News UK in both London and New York. You can usually find her looking up trending terms and finding real-life budget makeovers our readers love. Millie came up with the website's daily dupes article which gives readers ways to curate a stylish home for less.