1. Westfield Watcher
A house in Westfield, New Jersey has achieved notoriety in the last few years as a house not only “haunted”, but also watched by someone with anonymity. The house was built in 1905 and remodeled in 2014. Various families inhabited the house throughout the decades.
The Old Dutch Colonial house is described as a real estate dream, hosting 6 bedrooms, a master suite, wood floors, and numerous fireplaces. Derek and Maria Broaddus bought the newly remodeled home with high hopes in 2014, never expecting the fear and drama that would ensue for a whopping $1.3 million.
Shortly after the purchase, the family began to receive chilling letters in their mailbox by someone claiming to watch the home as the house had been “the subject of (their) family for decades” and that they were “put in charge in watching and waiting for its second coming.” The first asked, “Why are you here? I will find out.” Each letter was signed “The Watcher.” He claimed that his grandfather looked over the house in the 20’s, his father in the 60’s and that it was now his turn.
The Watcher claimed to always be keeping an eye on the house and on the family, “All the windows and doors allow me to watch you and track you as you move through the house.” He made references to the children of the family and threatened them, “and now I watch and wait for the day when they young blood will be mine again.”
The letters would poured in each one more and more disturbing. One asked if the owners were “able to fill the house with the young blood I requested” and claimed to know the names of the family’s children, “I am pleased to know your names now and the name of the young blood you have brought to me.” The Watcher claimed to one day call the children out by their names and lure them into the woods, “Once I know their names I will call to them and draw them to me. I asked the Woods (prior owners) to bring me young blood.”
More than one letter insinuated that there was something to be found in the walls, “Have they found what is in the walls yet?” and, “in time they will.” The watcher asked the family, “have you found all the secrets it (the house) holds?”
The Broaddus later filed a civil suit against the previous owners, the Woods, claiming that they had also previously received a letter and knew about the stalker and failed to disclose this information when selling the home, causing them emotional distress. The case was thrown out by a judge on October 18 of this year.
To this day, the identity of The Watcher remains unknown. As of October of 2017, the house is once again on the market.
2. Tatiana Tarasoff & Prosenjit Poddar
In 1968 18-year-old Tatiana Tarasoff befriended a fellow student at the University of California-Berkeley, Prosenjit Poddar from India. After meeting at a folk dancing class on campus the two got together and hung out regularly. They shared a friendly kiss at a New Years Eve party and dated briefly. They, however, had different views about the seriousness of their relationship and didn’t share the same romantic feelings. After learning about the depth of his feelings towards her and his misinterpretation of their relationship, Tatiana rebuffed him and made it clear she was dating other men and wasn’t interested in entering a romantic relationship with Poddar.
His academic performance deteriorated, he neglected himself personally, and he fell into a deep depression and into a deeper obsession with Tarasoff in the subsequent months. His mental health continued to down spiral throughout the spring and summer of 1969. During this time Tarasoff and Poddar occasionally saw each other. He would secretly record whatever conversations the two had to try to determine why it was she didn’t love him back. He had been keeping a journal detailing every interaction he ever had with her since they met. He would later begin stalking her and trying to change her mind. He would incessantly call her, show up and stand with her at her bus stop, and even befriended her brother and eventually moved in with him.
Tatiana left the states later in the summer of 1969 to embark on a trip to Brazil. During this time Poddar sought professional help with psychologist Dr. Lawrence Moore at a campus mental health clinic. Dr. Moore grew concerned when Poddar expressed desire and intention of killing Tarasoff and believed he was suffering from acute and severe paranoid schizophrenia. Doctor advised patient to cut off communication with, and stay away from Tarasoff, and that if the death threats continued he would have to take further action. Poddar then stopped showing up to treatment. Dr. Moore wrote a letter to campus police to inform them of his findings and advise them of the death threats; he also sent recommendation that Poddar be civilly committed as a dangerous person.
He was detained but shortly released, thereafter. Police interviewed Poddar, concluded that he was not a threat nor dangerous, and advised him to stay away from Tarasoff. Dr. Powelson, Moore’s psychiatric supervisor, ordered he not be detained further.
Upon her return from South America in October, Tatiana was failed to be informed by authorities or by medical professionals about any threat to her safety, nor about Poddar’s verbal expression of intent and desire to kill her. He continued his stalking behavior and on October 27, 1969 Poddar carried out the murder he had described and confided in therapy sessions. He showed up to Tatiana’s home and shot her with a pellet gun before stabbing her 14 times.
His second-degree murder conviction was later overturned on grounds that the jury at his trial was not properly instructed. Poddar wasn’t retried, and after serving only 5 years in prison he was deported back to India.
After his release Tatiana’s family sued the hospital, Dr. Moore, Dr. Powelson and multiple university employees stating that warnings about the death threats could have saved her life. These events would lead to a supreme court case, Tarasoff v. Regents of the University of California, in which a landmark decision would be made in 1976 ruling that mental health professionals have a duty to forgo doctor-patient confidentiality and warn individuals who are being threatened by a patient. 33 states have adopted Tarasoff laws since.
3. Theresa Saldana & Arthur Richard Jackson
Late 70’s and 80’s movie starlet, Brooklyn native, 27-year-old Theresa Saldana, captivated and gained the obsession of Scottish drifter, 47-year-old Arthur Richard Jackson, so much so that he moved to the United States “to be close to her” in 1982.
It was his fantasy, his dream, and his plan, to not only find her, but also to kill her and to die himself by execution so they could be eternally together in the afterlife.
Once in the U.S., Jackson hired a private investigator to obtain whatever information he could on Saldana. He was able to gain access to her mother’s private telephone number and called impersonating a representative for Martin Scorsese. He claimed to need to reach Theresa to discuss a possible film role. Saldana’s mother provided him with her residential address and there he waited outside for the West Hollywood actress. As she exited her home in broad daylight he attacked her, stabbing her 10 times with a hunting knife in the torso, inches within her life. It is said that he did so with such fury, such power, that the knife he used became bent. A delivery man, ran out of an apartment building past several onlookers, rushed to the actress’s side and subdued Jackson, saving her life.
Jackson was convicted of attempted murder and given a 12-year sentence. While in prison he continued to make threats against Saldana and began to also direct them at the man who saved her.
Sending her letter after letter, the actress lived in fear for her life. He would write that if it wasn’t him, he had friends that could kill her, and that upon his release he promised he would find her and finish what he started. She suffered from anxiety and insomnia, and was even hospitalized for the trauma she endured and the ongoing harassment. Jackson was later extradited to the UK for an unrelated crime and later died there in 2004 at the age of 68.
Saldana later played herself in a movie, Victims for Victims: The Theresa Saldana Story, in 1984 telling her story and wrote a book, Beyond Survival, detailing the events and her struggles after her attack in 1987.
She passed away at the age of 61 in June of 2016, but lived after her attack dedicating herself to fight for privacy and anti-stalking laws and advocating for victims who shared stories similar to hers. She was founder of the Victims for Victims organization, which fought for the establishment of anti-stalking laws and advocated for victim’s rights. She lobbied for the 1990 anti-stalking law and later on went on to support the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act .
4. Rebecca Schaeffer & Robert John Brado
A 19-year-old crazed fan was actually inspired by the actions of Arthur Richard Jackson when he became obsessed with 21-year-old actress Rebecca Schaeffer. He hired a private investigator to obtain information on the actress (like Jackson did with Saldana) before committing murder.
The Tucson, Arizona resident had an elaborate shrine of the actress in his home and wrote her numerous letters. He traveled to Los Angeles in 1987 and made multiple of attempts to visit her on the set of her sitcom, My Sister Sam. He was turned away more than once by security while trying to gain access to Rebecca.
In 1989 after watching a movie in which Rebecca Schaeffer was involved in a sex scene he became angered, enraged, jealous and “disappointed”. He decided that she needed to be “punished” and called her “another Hollywood whore.”
He traveled to Los Angeles and upon hiring a private investigator, obtained her address. It was as simple and as easy as a mere $250 to a P.I. He buzzed Rebecca’s apartment. She answered and he told her how he was her biggest fan and even showed her an autograph of hers that he had. She politely asked him to leave and not come back to her private home again. Shortly after, he returned, buzzed her door again, and this time when she answered he pulled out a gun from a brown paper bag and shot her to death in the chest.
He was later arrested and confessed to the murder, receiving life in prison without the possibility of parole. The actress’s rising career and life had been cut short thanks to another man being able and willing to pay for information that should have never been accessible to him or anyone else.
This case led to the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act, which actress Theresa Saldana also lobbied for. Since both private investigators had gotten a hold of their address through the DMV, it was made illegal for anyone to obtain private information on an individual through the DMV.
5. Laura Black & Richard Farley
This case of stalking ended in mass murder.
Richard Farley (35), an electrical engineer for Electromagnetic System Labs, Inc. in Sunnyvale, California, became instantly obsessed with 22-year-old Laura Black when she was hired in April of 1984. According to him, it was love at first-sight. He would repeatedly ask her out, despite her rejections, and would continually buy her gifts and write her love letters. He told her he would continue to ask her out until she accepted or until the day he died.
The letters, the gifts, and the advances continued. He also adopted a habit of following her around in his car and showing up at her home. She was forced to move several times because of his ongoing stalking and harassment. He went as far as going through her personnel files under false pretenses and befriending the custodial staff to make copies of her keys for her desk and files at work.
Over these 4 years she had received 200 letters from Farley. The stalking and the showing up at places she frequented reached an unsettling point. She went to Human Resources to file a complaint against Farley. He was ordered to not only stay away from Laura, but to also attend counseling sessions.
The disturbing obsession and stalking did not stop and he continued terrorizing Laura Black with increasing, threatening behavior. He was fired from ESL by summer of 1986, but his stalking and obsession continued. In February of 1988 Laura filed a temporary restraining order against Farley.
The day before the hearing was scheduled, Farley arrived at ESL armed with a shotgun, after purchasing several different guns and a few thousand rounds of ammunition. He shot his first victim in the parking lot and entered the building shooting his way in. He shot several people, killing 7 and injuring others, before arriving at Laura’s office. After closing the door on him, he fired through, shooting her in the shoulder and collapsing one of her lungs. During a five-hour standoff he had with police, victims hid from Farley and Laura regained consciousness and was able to prevent the bleeding and survived after being rescued.
Farley was found guilty on seven counts of first degree murder and was sentenced to death. While in prison he wrote to Laura one final time. He currently sits on death row in San Quentin.
6. Mary Stauffer & Ming Sen Shiue
So, a lot of us have been hot for teacher, right? Really, it’s not out of the ordinary to have crushed on a teacher back in the day or even on a hot professor in college. But most of us aren’t sadistic stalkers like Ming Sen Shiue, whose crush on his ninth-grade algebra teacher began in 1965 and morphed into a sick obsession that lasted over 15 years.
Throughout the years, Shiue fantasized about Stauffer, wrote stories detailing sexual fantasies, ranging from consensual to non-consensual, some detailing rape. His disturbing imagination wasn’t enough to satisfy his twisted cravings and he began relentlessly stalking Mary and attempting to track her down throughout most of the 70’s. He even once broke into her in-law’s home, in 1975, believing it to be hers, and threatened them with death if the crime was to be reported to authorities.
In 1980, he learned of her whereabouts in Bethel University campus and began to stalk her for months. In May of that year he followed her to a salon where he held her and her daughter (7) at gunpoint as they were leaving and proceeded to kidnap them. Petrified and tied up, Mary made loud noises from inside the trunk, Shiue pulled over and caught the attention of 6-year-old Jason Wilkman. He threw the boy into the trunk as well and beat him to death with a metal rod in a secluded wildlife refuge.
He kept both mother and daughter captive at his home for nearly two months. While prisoner of Shiue, Stauffer was repeatedly raped and assaulted. Shiue recorded and kept many videotapes of his attacks on Mary, in many she is tied and bound. He made it a point to often keep mother and daughter separate, locking Mary in a closet, while her daughter remained locked inside of a box in a van.
In July of the same year, Mary was able to escape and call for help while Shiue was at work by removing hinge pins off the closet door. He was arrested at work that same day.
As if he hadn’t terrorized her enough, while on trial in 1981, Shiue smuggled in a knife to court and jumped at Mary after her testimony, slashing her face severely, and threatening that he would one day kill her and her daughter.
Shiue received 40 years for the murder of Jason Wilkman and an additional 30 for the kidnapping of Mary and her daughter.
7. Laurie Show & Lisa Michelle Lambert
Typically, when we think about the word stalking, what comes to mind is a deranged man obsessed with a woman, intimidating her and terrorizing her life. In 1991 Lisa Michelle Lambert shocked us with her fatal jealousy and obsessive stalking of her high school classmate, 16-year-old Laurie Show, and forever made us change the way we think about stalking.
Show and Lambert were friends for a brief period of time until Lambert grew unreasonably jealous of Show for thinking that she was after her on-again-off-again boyfriend, Lawrence Yunkin.
Laurie briefly dated Yunkin over the summer he and Lambert were not together, and she ended it after being sexually assaulted by him and even confided in her mother about the attack. Yunkin and Lisa Michelle Lambert, who became pregnant with his child, got back together shortly after.
Show wasn’t interested in Yunkin, and wanted nothing to do with him after the attack, but Lambert remained paranoid and jealous of Laurie. She devoted herself to stalking and harassing her. She would show up at her work and verbally assault her, taunt her with unsettling phone calls, threaten her openly in public, sometimes even with death threats and physical violence. Laurie’s mother, Hazel, attempted to file charges against Lambert, but this did nothing to stop her.
On December 21, 1991 Hazel received a phone call from the school counselor requesting she come to a meeting to discuss Laurie. The phone call was a ruse to leave Laurie vulnerable and alone, and an impersonation by Lambert. Hazel returned home to discover her daughter agonizing as she bled out. She managed to tell her mother the name of her attacker by murmuring her final words, “Michelle did it.” She had been stabbed several times and her throat had been slashed.
Michelle and accomplice Tabitha Buck were arrested the next day, and so was Yunkin, who took the girls to Laurie’s home that fateful day. He testified against the girls, stating that Buck slashed the victim’s throat after both her and Michelle had stabbed her and collapsed one of her lungs. He received a lesser sentence for his testimony. Lambert and Buck both received a life sentence without the possibility of parole.
8. Randi Barber & Gary Dellapenta
Gary Dellapenta became besotted with young woman, Randi Barber, in California in 1996. After meeting her through a friend he was relentless in asking her out, sending her gifts and trying to win her over. Dellapenta went as far as joining her church.
The harassment reached a point so disturbing that Barber, who always rebuffed his advances, went to officials of their church to voice her concerns and express the threat she felt she was being exposed to. Dellapenta was banned from congregation.
For nearly three years his attraction surpassed obsession, as he spent his time stalking Barber and following her around.
He even took it upon himself to place ads in her name in various sex-related chatrooms. While impersonating her, he described a fetish for rape scenes and fantasies about being raped by strange men who entered her apartment. “I’m into rape fantasy and gang-bang fantasy too,” he wrote in one of his earliest ads.
Dellapenta included the woman’s address in these ads. He had created a fake email address using Barber’s name for contact with any men responding to the ad. He even provided instructions on how to break into her home and how to disarm her security system. As he still spent his time stalking Randi, he would give details on her schedule and social plans.
Randi Barber received numerous unsettling and obscene phone calls regarding these ads, many with dirty solicitations. At least 6 men showed up to her private home during a five-month period claiming to be there to fulfill her fantasy. She eventually resorted to placing notes on her door saying the ads were false to turn men away. Dellapenta went as far as putting a disclaimer on the ads he posted stating that the notes were actually fake and all part of the fantasy.
After handing Dellapenta’s name and suspicion to authorities, it wasn’t long before his identity was confirmed through search warrants to Internet companies. It was verified not only that all emails came from Dellapenta’s computer after going through his hard-drive.
He was arrested on charges of cyberstalking, a law that had just gone into effect a mere three weeks prior, and sentenced to 6 years in prison. In 1999 he became the first person to be charged under this new statute.
9. Maria Marchese
A woman should always be heard, always be seen, and always believed after experiencing any kind of sexual assault. Trampling and tainting over the stories of, and disrespecting rape and sexual assault survivors, Maria Marchese (45) falsely cried rape while embarking on a four-year terror campaign against psychiatrist Dr. Jan Falkowski (45) in London in the early 2000’s.
Marchese became infatuated with the doctor after meeting him in 2001 while he treated her then partner. She shortly after got a hold of his cell phone number, and his home and work numbers. She began stalking him, calling him, writing him letters and sending him messages. She would confess her “undying love” for him and claim that they were born for each other and meant to be together.
Convinced Debra Pemberton, Falkowski’s fiancée, was trying to come between them and ruin their happiness, she began terrorizing her. She would prey on the couple through texts, emails and phone calls, and spy on them. Many included death threats to Pemberton, and sometimes to Falkowski himself.
Their wedding was even called off in 2003 after she threatened to burn Pemberton in her wedding dress and suggested she’d die while writing in one message, “a gunman has been paid.”
She broke into the doctor’s home several times, one time attempting to cause an explosion by opening up all the gas taps. The harassment was so disturbing and so unsettling that Pemberton had a mental breakdown and fell into a deep depression, later ending her relationship with Falkowski.
Marchese accused the doctor of rape in 2004, after stealing a condom from his trash during one of her break-ins and spilling his semen on her panties. Falkowski lived under suspicion for over a year, until evidence was obtained to clear his name, five days before he was due to appear in court. Traces of his new girlfriend’s DNA were found in the sample and helped show he had been framed by Marchese.
Marchese had succeeded in breaking the engagement between Pemberton and Falkowski, in damaging his name and reputation, hindering his career, but after 18 months, his name was finally cleared. And in January of 2007, Maria Marchese was sentenced to 9 years in prison for the terror she unleashed on both Falkowski and Pemberton during all those years.