Worst amenity ever: a house that comes with a built-in stalker

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Here's a new nightmare to add to the rotation: After splashing out $1.3 million for their New Jersey "dream house," a family has been inundated with chilling letters from a stalker who calls himself "the Watcher," and claims to have some sort of deeply creepy domain over their house, CBS News Reports.

In a series of letters, said 'Watcher' tells the family that their new home has been "the subject of my family for decades," and “I have been put in charge of watching and waiting for its second coming." He also asks detailed, scary questions about their kids, and says in one letter, “I am pleased to know your names now, and the name of the young blood you have brought to me." Oh, and for good measure, the Watcher asks, “Have they found out what’s in the walls yet?"

Naturally, then, the family is suing the sellers, who they claim had knowledge of the Watcher (and received at least one letter from him before the sale), and purposely kept the problem a secret in hopes of unloading the house, leaving the new owners with a pricey home they're too frightening to live in but, for obvious reasons, are now unable to sell. (Gawker has the full, terrifying text of the lawsuit, including more letters from the stalker.)

As any horror movie viewer can tell you, it's probably not a great idea to shadily unload a house with a Scary Secret and just hope it all works out. Legally, though, it's a little less clear who's in the right here. As we've written before, New York law, for instance, doesn't require brokers to disclose "grisly" crimes or deaths on a property unless the buyers explicitly ask, and it's unclear what the rules are when it comes to a property-specific stalker. (Though you can get out of a contract if you find out your place has a wide reputation has a haunted house and, thus, lower resale value.) In any case, New Jersey police are now in the midst of an extensive search, so hopefully the Watcher's letter-writing career will be over sooner rather than later. Still, though, selling that house might be a tall order.


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