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Christmas Eve Cowboy


I'm taking a short break from writing about the occurrences in my home. This story took place in my sister's home many years ago. There is a reason I feel the need to write about it now. I received a phone call from my sister last night. She was finally returning my calls. I had been trying to get hold of her all day yesterday. Three phone calls, three text messages but never an answer. My messages were simply, "We need to talk." Today's date is April 18, 2016.

Our conversation in part: My sis: "Hey, are you busy?"

Me: "No, what's up? It's nice you decided to return my calls."

My sis: "Sorry, my brain has been preoccupied. Do you remember that Christmas Eve my house almost went up in flames?"

Me: "Are you kidding me? Are you freaking kidding me? I've been trying to get hold of you all day about exactly that."

My sis: "All I've been able to think about today, is that night. You really need to stop playing in my head."

Me: "But there's so much room in there..."

My sis: "You're so funny..."

Me: "Have you seen him again?"

My sis: "No, have you?"

Me: "No."

The question is like a ritual, we play out each time one of us mentions that night. I don't believe either of us expects to see him again. It's just a question that has to be asked.

It all begin Christmas Eve, 1989. That morning my husband and I woke to a very cold house. Our power was out and the water pipes were frozen. Winter was hitting hard, harder than I can ever remember before in Arkansas. Temperatures were in the teens or lower.

At that time we had two children, a 5 year old boy and 6 month old girl. We knew we had to get them someplace warm. We lived in the country so going to a hotel really wasn't an option, besides there was a freezing drizzle that had us extremely worried. We thought of going to my parents who lived about 6 miles from us, but reasoned they would probably be without power as well. Our other option was going to my sister's house. She also lived about 6 miles from us, in the other direction, but we knew her house would be warm because she heated with wood.

After deciding on my sister's house, my husband gathered up the Santa gifts while I bundled the kids up. We loaded the car and were on our way.

Here I'll tell you a little about my sister's house. I was with her the day she found it. The year was 1981. We were driving around trying to find a rental house for her family. We decided to drive down this gravel road neither of us had been down since we were kids. We noticed what looked like a driveway long forgotten. We stopped, got out of the car and walked as far as we could. Peering through the overgrowth of wild ivy and grapevines, we saw it. A magnificent old house just begging to be loved.

The yard was littered with different colored rose bushes that had not been pruned in years. In the middle of the yard, straight in front of the steps that led onto a huge porch, was an arched trellis with beautiful velvety blood red roses growing across it.

We gingerly walked towards the house, knowing full well we were trespassing. However, since neither of us had seen any posted signs, we thought, hoped it would be OK to just take a quick look. It was as if we were meant to look at it. As if it was calling us.

The front porch spanned across the width of the house. It had large columns supporting the roof. On either end there was an old worn porch swing. The house itself had two front doors. Looking through the door on the right, we could see two large rooms separated by only an arched frame. Each room had its own fireplace. The floors were hardwood that had long ago lost their shine. From the door on the left we could see what looked like a bedroom, equally large as the other two rooms. And with the same hardwood floor.

We were like little kids running around the outside of the house trying to peek in windows to see what other surprises we could discover. We could not see a whole lot other than the rooms in front, but my sister was already planning how she would decorate it.

She became obsessed with this house. Asking around whom owned it, would they rent it. She planned to live there and no amount of trying to talk her into looking elsewhere worked. After several days she found out the owner's name and asked me to go with her to talk to the lady. Someone told her it was an old family home. And while the family had rented it out in the past, they didn't believe the lady would rent it out again due to the last renters not taking care of it.

Even though I figured it was against all odds she would be able to rent the place, knowing how folks around here are about their old family homesteads, I went with my sister to talk to the owner.

Right off the lady said she didn't want to rent it. The house had been in her family for over 100 years. She hated to see someone else destroy it. My sister, not one to take no for an answer, kept trying to persuade her. The lady said it needed tons of repair. My sister said she and her husband would do them. The lady reminded her of how grown up the yard was. My sister told her not to worry about it, they would take care of it. As a last-ditch effort the lady said, "It's haunted. Many of my past renters have heard and seen things." My sister smiled at me and replied, "Awesome!" The lady laughed as she agreed to rent the house to my sister...

Christmas Eve morning 1989.

We made our way slowly down the long gravel road towards my sister's house. By this time little droplets of water was beginning to freeze on the tree limbs. I was thinking how glad I was to have some place to take our children so they could stay warm. I did not worry that we had not been able to call ahead because I knew my sister would welcome us with open arms. As she did.

We spent the day baking and getting ready for Santa's visit. The house was filled with laughter and excitement of four little kids punctuated with a giggle from our baby daughter once in a while.

All four kids were put to bed in the same bedroom. My daughter stayed with the adults in the living room as we watched TV. The kids had long gone to sleep when I suddenly heard my son coughing. It was nearing midnight. When I went to check on him I smelled smoke. Smoke was coming from the closet which was on the wall where the fireplace in the other room butted up against.

I yelled that I thought the house was on fire. While my husband and I got the kids up, my sister and brother-in-law were inspecting the closet where the smoke was coming from. My brother-in-law said he thought the fire was contained in the chimney but to be on the safe side we should all get out of the house.

We bundled up the kids and took them to one of the cars, we had started because it was way too cold for little ones to be outside. Since the house was so isolated we knew we were on our own.

My brother-in-law and husband ran to get the extension ladder while my sister and I stretched the water hose as far as it would reach towards the house. The faucet was out in the yard quite a way from the house. Unfortunately we soon discovered the hose was frozen.

One of us found a pail while someone removed the hose from the faucet. We were lucky enough that the faucet wasn't frozen.

I filled the pail with water, handed it to my sister, she handed it to my husband who was towards the top of the ladder, he then handed if off to my brother-in-law. He poured it down the chimney. In between times of filling the pail, I ran over to the car to make sure the kids were still safe and warm. It was one of these times as I was coming back to re-fill the pail when I noticed there was someone else besides my brother-in-law on the roof. About the same time my sister noticed him too. I asked, "Who is that?" She replied with her own question, "Where did he come from?"

I refilled the pail, gave it to my sister, she gave it to my husband, he gave it to my brother-in-law. It was then that we heard the man speak. "Here, let me help," he said taking the pail from my brother-in-law. He was standing next to the chimney and didn't turn to face us, just sort of reached for the pail. My brother-in-law handed it to him. He poured it down the chimney.

I refilled the pail several times more, handing it off to the next person. No one spoke. Finally, when he was sure the fire was out, my brother-in-law broke the silence by simply saying, "It's out." He turned towards where the man had been standing, at the same time my sister and I looked in that direction, he wasn't there. He was gone. He had just vanished.

My brother-in-law searched the roof for the man. My husband, sister and I walked around the house searching for him. We could not find any footprints in the newly fallen sleet. The only footprints on the roof was that of my brother-in-law's.

He was wearing jeans, a long sleeve shirt with a vest over it and cowboy boots. He didn't seem to mind the cold as we did. I can't remember ever seeing his face, only his profile. He never looked directly at us. His voice was very flat in tone. There has always been a debate as to what color his hair was. My brother-in-law says it was black. My sister and I say it was a dark blond. My husband never actually saw him because of his position on the ladder, but he says he heard him talking.

The one thing we can all agree upon is that he was there and there is no way he jumped from the house and could possibly have walked away. And he couldn't have gone up or came down the ladder because my husband was on it the entire time.

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The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, yomomma, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

yomomma (11 stories) (81 posts)
7 years ago (2016-07-20)
Hi C2C! Thanks for reading my story and thanks for the comment. The landlady found it all amusing which lead us to believe she knew more than what she said about the cowboy. It's been many years ago since that Christmas Eve but believe me, none of us have forgotten it. Sadly a few days ago I learned the house had recently been torn down.
C2C (3 stories) (62 posts)
7 years ago (2016-07-19)
Your family's experience is one story that should survive for at least a generation or two by word of mouth. I think the emergency and need for saving the family home brought a ghostly family member out to help. I would be asking around for pictures associated with people who once lived in the house, likely ancestors of your landlord. She might have some you could look at, or the local newspaper may have run an obituary or other stories relating to family members. Though nobody has a clear description of him, those who saw him may immediately recognize someone in a picture, especially if he's wearing the same clothing. Cowboy boots would probably relate to someone from the 1880's to the present. Local newspaper articles may also reveal some information about prior inhabitants. It would be nice to identify him and thank him by name for his help. However, it might also be one of your great grandfathers or uncles. You never know.

I once had a chimney fire in -20 below weather. The fire sounded like a train and was quite frightening. I thought my house was going to burn down, but no real damage was done and we got it out very quickly. I can't remember now how we put it out, but we did it from inside the house, the brick chimney not being that tall. I have a dim memory of throwing salt or chimney cleaning pellets on the fire.

Thanks for sharing you and your sister's experience in finding the house she rented and the chimney fire. It sounds exactly like the type of thing that would happen in our family. What a Christmas Eve to remember!
MysticFrance (5 stories) (95 posts)
7 years ago (2016-05-19)
Wow! I'd love to read your sister's stories. Looking forward.:-)
yomomma (11 stories) (81 posts)
7 years ago (2016-05-17)
Hi MysticFrance, thank you for reading my story. Yes there were other occurrences in the house. None as magnificent as the cowboy though. I plan to get with my sis soon and write a story on those.
MysticFrance (5 stories) (95 posts)
7 years ago (2016-05-17)
The landlady said that the house is haunted. Is this the only weird experience of your sister's family? If yes, then it's good. God bless! 😊
yomomma (11 stories) (81 posts)
7 years ago (2016-04-29)
Hi AugustaM - Thanks for reading my story and thanks for the comment. You are right I consider this a beautiful experience.
AugustaM (7 stories) (996 posts)
7 years ago (2016-04-29)
I have nothing analytical to add - I just had to say I am so struck by the beauty of this experience. I really think the landlady was right that it was one of her relatives come to help protect the home his family loved so much and the family that loved it enough to restore it:-)

I hope you do get to see him again someday.
Tweed (29 stories) (2362 posts)
7 years ago (2016-04-29)
Far out about salt, that's a heck of an observation. I don't use salt as a repellent, don't want salt getting on everything. Interesting theory though about salt and other absorbent substances!
2nd1st (1 stories) (118 posts)
7 years ago (2016-04-29)
Pondering the water thing further. I was just thinking about how there seems to be a common belief that salt had done sort of spirit repellant property.

It's also an epic absorber of moisture. Wonder if related? Anyone tried silica gel, soft rice or anything else that is such an effective water absorber as repellant?
yomomma (11 stories) (81 posts)
7 years ago (2016-04-28)
Hi notadaddysgirl - I'm glad you liked my story. Thanks for the comment!

Hi Tweed - Thanks for reading my story. To me this was the most amazing example of the paranormal I can ever hope to see. My sister and I like to annoy each other with our cell phone calls.
As far as noticing the cowboy appear, suddenly he was just there. I first noticed him when I returned to my place in line. My sister noticed him when I asked who he was. My husband who never saw him thinks he appeared while I was at the car checking on the kids. My brother-in-law said he turned around after taking the pail from my husband and the guy was just there. Here's something interesting even my brother-in-law, who was very close to the guy, can not remember seeing his face.
Thanks for the comment.

Hi 2nd1st - Thanks for reading my story. From my position on the ground he looked solid, maybe not quite as solid as my brother-in-law but perhaps that was just the sleet coming down. I heard him speak once. My sister says she heard him speak once. My husband says he spoke a few times but it was the same thing repeated. His voice had a flat tone. My husband describes it as being robotic.
I remember seeing what looked like him taking the pail and pouring the water into the chimney. Now my brother-in-law says it's a blur in his mind. He says he knows the guy was there, he knows the guy wanted to help, he assumes the cowboy did just that. Thanks for the comment.
Manafon1 (6 stories) (704 posts)
7 years ago (2016-04-28)
Tweed--Glass can be made by heating sand (at super high temps) until it becomes "liquid sand". Maybe that's where your thought glass is made of water comes from? That said, as much glass is made from sand, and thinking about nature as un unbroken chain, glass could be considered connected to people and by extension their spirits. There's a touch of my inner hippy coming out 😁.
Tweed (29 stories) (2362 posts)
7 years ago (2016-04-28)
Manafon, wow I didn't know so much study was done around a water theory, that's really cool! What you said about modern plumbing got me thinking, isn't glass essentially water? Everyone's got glass.

WishNot the vulnerability aspect makes sense too. People get scared in bed a lot, that's another place we're vulnerable.

Yomomma, did anyone notice the cowboy appear? Obviously everyone was in the moment and frantic but I wonder how do ghosts appear like this without anyone noticing it. Like they somehow know when to appear without anyone receiving confirmation they're a ghost. Hope that makes sense!
Manafon1 (6 stories) (704 posts)
7 years ago (2016-04-28)
Wish-Not--That is a definite possibility. Much like people having "expectation" in supposedly haunted locales, a bathroom is a place where a person is extremely vulnerable and this could indeed cause a nervous type of person (for example) to believe they had a paranormal experience in the bathroom.

Of course the number of reports of ghostly activity in bathrooms (I read of one recently that dates from around 1900) does suggest, at least some of these reports, are valid.
Tweed (29 stories) (2362 posts)
7 years ago (2016-04-28)
2nd1st, considering we are all ghosts within majority of water, some tissue, minerals, and a few electrical currents which make up our physical shells. Then perhaps this majority material, water, is a clue. Don't know what it's a clue to, but it's intriguing that our bodies are water and ghosts seem to have far more control around water. I've always felt that ghosts and the living aren't much different. Strip away superstition and, it's been said on here a lot; as in life, so in death, as seems the case with this cowboy.

If water helps ghost manifestations, I'm sure the other elements would too. Get ready to roll your eyes, with witchcraft, energy healing and various other things of this nature, the elements play a huge part in spells, energy transference etc. We live on Earth, among the elements, but we forget we are water, an element and a bunch of other natural materials. Ghost matter, physical matter, I don't think it's that dissimilar. Perhaps ghost matter particles are finer, smaller in every way possible. Thus largely go unnoticed by our physical senses. If this is true, living in a world of finer molecules and trying to communicate with the physical realm, one might need a bit of help from physical counterparts, like elements, to perhaps bind to the finer particles so ghostie can be detected and interact with the physical realm for a bit.
Wish-Not (16 stories) (534 posts)
7 years ago (2016-04-28)
Not to run a muck, a muck, a muck with the water/bathroom discussion, there is also the "causation" that most if not all feel vulnerable in the bathroom. Most occasions are a private matter not shared with anyone. Much less a spirit. Is this why a lot of activity happens? Our on vulnerability is preyed on?

Just a question to consider.
Manafon1 (6 stories) (704 posts)
7 years ago (2016-04-28)
Tweed--I forgot to add to my last post on this subject that a number of psychical researchers use the proximity of underground streams, for instance, as an alternative for a paranormal explanation. In other words, they state that sounds that could be construed as voices, footsteps, moans and so on are caused by the subterranean water. The thought is that once these sounds are heard and the location gains a reputation for being haunted, it creates "expectation" and then "apparitions" are seen.

Following this line of reasoning, a normal shadow or light is instantly registered as paranormal and further feeds expectation for others to perpetuate. Of course most well documented cases are far too detailed to be explained this way but certainly it could explain some.
Manafon1 (6 stories) (704 posts)
7 years ago (2016-04-28)
Tweed--There are a lot of thorough case study examples of credible paranormal incidents occurring in the immediate proximity of water. Whether it's an ocean, lake, river or stream. In many cases the investigator goes to great pains to mention a connection between a subterranean stream, or even a sewer, near the haunted locale. As an extension of the thought that water might have some connection with increasing the possibility of having a paranormal experience, it would make sense that snow and ice could provide the same necessary element (whatever exactly that might be).

Of course many countries in the world have indoor plumbing which, theoretically, brings this potential link in the paranormal chain right to the masses! Maybe this does explain the surprising number of ghostly visitations in bathrooms. Faucets turning on and off, toilets flushing etc.
2nd1st (1 stories) (118 posts)
7 years ago (2016-04-28)
Interesting observation tweed- a heck if a lot of ghost stories seem to feature bathrooms. Pondering.

My pondering yields nothing. But still an interesting observation and also the conceptual extension to water. Pondering.

My pondering still yields nothing other than the fact that you have pointed out a correlation that had never occurred to me before. The question of course is this a case of correlation vs causation? If so, anyone have an idea around the possible link?

Thinking more? Haven't pools of water and rivers been prominent in a lot of folklore re nature spirit type things etc? Off the top if my head, I think they have. More pondering.

Sorry, I find tweeds observation very interesting.

OP, so I understand the mechanics... The apparition:
1) was visible and appeared solid
2) spoke and was heard
3) physically excepted and operated the bucket if water
Did I get that right?
Tweed (29 stories) (2362 posts)
7 years ago (2016-04-28)
Yomomma, love this, thanks for sharing!

What Manafon said about the rarity of this type of encounter got me thinking. There's so many ghost stories on here which take place in bathrooms. Wonder if there's a connection to water, perhaps it's conductive, somehow useful for ghost manifestations. Soo, if there's anything in that little theory, what with all that snow and ice everywhere, maybe your cowboy was able to make good use of the environment.

Great read! By the way, as someone who doesn't understand cell phone culture and not fond of being contactable 24/7, my phone is off most of the time. Leaving one phone message is all it takes, *nudge nudge* no need for multiple attempts *wink wink*. If your sister's anything like me, it's not that we don't care to hear from people, it's that we don't want to be disturbed, big difference. 😉
notadaddysgirl (guest)
7 years ago (2016-04-28)
Another great read Yomomma. Always love the way you wright you draw me right into the story and keep me hooked. Thank you. ❤
yomomma (11 stories) (81 posts)
7 years ago (2016-04-27)
Hi spiritwaiting - I'm glad you liked the story. I feel as if it was someone attached to the house perhaps a relative of the family. Only one family ever owned this house. The landlady's grandfather built a part of it and then her father added a few rooms. Thanks for the comment.

Hi Kindly_refrain - an angel, you say, very interesting. We have actually thought about this. Glad you liked the story.

Hi Manafon1 - I guess maybe the fact that he was actually doing something physical made us think he might be a living person. My 10 year old nephew said he saw cowboy boots so he knew someone else was there because his dad only wears tennis shoes. Thanks for reading the story.

Wish-Not - Woo Pig! Glad you liked the story. Thanks for the comment.

Hi Mazzmarach - Thanks for reading the story. My sister did in fact tell the landlady about what the guy was wearing. The landlady said she thought it must be a relative.

Hi roylynx - Thanks for reading the story. Her grandfather was a cattle rancher so it stands to reason there would be cowboys.
spiritwaiting (42 stories) (843 posts)
7 years ago (2016-04-27)
Love this!
Well written I could imagine every detail.
Even the warmth of the house from the fire.

This definitely is intriguing. Wonderwho this could have been.

Whoever it was, was definitely a huge help!

Thanks for sharing!
BloodEman (2 stories) (59 posts)
7 years ago (2016-04-27)
thanks for replying yomomma...

Ok I can understand the situation all of you were. 😊 However did you ask the owner about the history of the house...? Maybe she can help you. If others left the house there must be a reason...

But accoring to your story my friend, the ghost doesn't seem to be a evil one. But if I am you, I will probably find the history of that house. Because I can't live with a secret in my mind...

Anyway I wish you will never expirience such unbelievable things again... Try to find some info about that house...It'll help you.

Wishes for you and your family members...
Blood 😊
Kindly_refrain (16 stories) (193 posts)
7 years ago (2016-04-26)
Hello Yomomma, great story and well recounted.

I know YGS is a ghost site and that may well have been a ghost but the story shares many aspects with what others might call an angel encounter.

In accounts of angel visitation, often, a "person" will appear, dressed and looking quite normal, in the midst of an emergency to lend assistance. When the situation is in hand the "person" is mysteriously gone without a trace.
Manafon1 (6 stories) (704 posts)
7 years ago (2016-04-26)
Hi yomamma--Another account well told. It brings up an interesting conundrum with ghosts. In most reports, a person sees an apparition but only very rarely moving something tangible. There are a ton of reports of objects being moved (some quite large) but that usually occurs when a person hears something, only to find upon investigation, some object (s) have been moved.

That four adults saw this apparition AND that it handled a water filled bucket is an incredibly rare occurrence! I can understand why it remains so firmly planted in the minds of you and your sister. Did any of the kids in the car catch a glimpse of the mystery man? Seems like you all were visited by a ghostly Good Samaritan who must have had some connection with the house in the past 😁!
Wish-Not (16 stories) (534 posts)
7 years ago (2016-04-26)
yomomma- Yet another great story! Great detail, been down those old gravel roads here in Arkansas and have seen those long abandoned homes. There's nothing like living in the country. We are currently about 8 miles out from Batesville. No neighbors, no distractions, just the sound of nature. 😁

Thanks for sharing,...and I could see that ya'll were to busy to question the extra help that showed up.
Woo Pig 😊
Mazzmarach (2 stories) (78 posts)
7 years ago (2016-04-26)
That's quite interesting. Did your sister ever tell the landlady what this cowboy was wearing? I'm asking, because it sounds like it'd be an interesting topic if the landlady recognized the outfit.
roylynx (guest)
7 years ago (2016-04-26)
Could he be someone whom had owned the house before hand?
I don't know about cowboys but my father told me that my grandmother used to say that when she was young, she became very sick and was alone in her room in a late night, someone came in the room and gave her some herbal tea and took care of her. She saw the bow the next morning but she realizes that it wasn't herbal tea but just a bow of clean water. She thought it was her mother but it wasn't since her mother was long gone. Just a story from old people, you know.
Forests and water places always attract spirits and ghosts; he could be just a traveler whom had a brave heart, I believe cowboys from the west had the bravest heart and they bring along that heart even when they passed away.

Love from São Paulo
yomomma (11 stories) (81 posts)
7 years ago (2016-04-26)
Hi Mazzmarach - There were no pictures left in the house however my sister did tell her landlord about that night. The landlady laughed and stated it must of been one of her dead relatives.

Over the years my sister lived there she heard what sounded like mice munching on something. It happened early morning, almost every morning. The sound came from the dinning room. She told her landlady about this also. The landlady said others had heard that. She said her family had came to believe it was her late father eating his cornflakes. Which while living he did every morning.
yomomma (11 stories) (81 posts)
7 years ago (2016-04-26)
Hi BloodEman. Thanks for ready my story. I was pretty surprised to see someone besides my brother-in-law on the roof. My sister and I both were surprised but we had a task to do. My brother-in-law said he was confused to where he came from but thought we had let him up the ladder. I know we were thinking the house was about to go up in flames, I guess that was priority in our minds.

After the fact we did assume he was a ghost. At the time we were just too busy.

The house had a pitched roof, I think that's what it's called. Sort of like a two story house might have. However this was a one story house with a large attic.

We did check all points of the roof. We searched around the house, in my mind I was thinking the guy must of fallen.

My brother-in-law was a roofer by trade. That's the reason we all took the places we did. No one else could have navigated the roof in our group.

I know it sounds unbelievable, we lived it and still we are in awe of that night.

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