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Keepers Of The Lodge


I am an American currently living with my Bosnian wife in Sarajevo. Not long ago we became interested in mountaineering and on February 9, 2008 we joined about seven others for a hike up a nearby mountain. We took a train to a village at the base of the mountain and from there went by foot.

Besides my wife, I knew only one other girl in the group, but got to know everyone else as we hiked about seven kilometers to our destination, a mountain lodge set in an isolated area. There were no roads to this place and the quickest way up was a four hour trek through the woodlands along a steep, winding, snow-covered path.

The trip up was rough and soon we left the damp, green fields of the village below and found ourselves struggling through snow that sometimes came to our hips.

I was amazed at how beautiful everything was but happy when we turned a bend, went up yet another slope, and finally caught sight of the building we would spent the night in.

The place was nice considering we were roughing it for the weekend. We entered into a spacious room with tables and benches situated along the walls. In one corner we warmed our clothes and boots by a hot, wood-burning stove while warming ourselves with Bosnian coffee, hot tea, and good conversation.

A short hallway just off of the main room led to the bathroom which had three sinks and four stalls with doors. Next to the bathroom, a set of stairs led up to the rooms we would be sleeping in.

We found out there was no electricity for the place, so we would be using flashlights and lanterns for the evening.

Besides the group I came with, there were two girls who ran the kitchen, two men who did maintenance on all the nearby lodges who happened to be there for the night, and a couple who came in right after us. Although we came at separate times, everyone got along well and, for that night, became one group.

Below the lodge at a distance was a small village that was deserted at the time, only used for the summer months. There were about seven snow-covered buildings that consisted of houses and barns. An empty swing in one yard swayed back and forth with the force of the driving wind.

A storm was coming so some of the others decided to hike around a bit, explore the village below, or take photos before it was too late to do so.

With everyone gone, I decided to take the bags my wife and I brought with us to our room and have a look upstairs. All our rooms were situated at the top of the stairs. To the right of our rooms was a hallway the length of the lodge with about six doors on each side of it.

I dumped off the bags, went down the hall, and tried to look out the frost covered window at the far end.

While looking out the window, I heard someone whisper, "Ne znam (I do not know) "and "Uskoro, ne sada (soon, not now) ". They repeated this several times, but I could not find the source of the voice. I went back down, not feeling weird, but embarrassed that I had most likely stumbled along a few guests having a private conversation.

I was surprised, though, to find everyone in the main room talking or just outside the window, having returned to the site and taking more photos.

Soon the storm took full effect and everyone came if for the night. Although it was getting dark fast, there was still enough light out to see, so I spent time at the window enjoying the view.

As I looked down at the village, I could make out a man standing near one of the houses. He was completely still for some time, then walked about 20 yards and stopped. I could barely make out the sight of him placing his hands on his hips and turn his waist, as if looking around.

After talking with my wife for a few minutes, I returned to the window and the man was in his original position. Suddenly he turned toward the lodge, seemed to look up, and waved.

For some reason, I pulled back from the window and hid behind the wall. Looking back out, I saw that the man had faced away from us again and stood motionless; seemingly watching the snow beat upon the walls of the empty houses around him.

I told our guide about our unannounced visitor and soon everyone was looking out the window down at the tiny shape among the houses. The kitchen girls resided in the lodge and said none of the villagers ever came back until spring and, besides those of us already in the building, no one had called in earlier to announce they were coming, as it was customary to do.

It seemed there was no emergency, so rather than hike down and see if he was ok, our guide suggested we just leave the door unlocked for a while in case he came up for shelter.

I looked down one more time and there he was, standing in the same spot he had been in for about an hour. Eventually the storm came in force and outside became pitch black. No lights could be seen below and no one ever came to the door.

About an hour after everyone was settled in the main room eating and talking, we heard stomping coming from upstairs. It was in the area our rooms were at. Everyone was accounted for so one of the maintenance men went up; sporting a headband with a light attached to it, and checked everything out. He found nothing.

One of the men had lit a dim lamp and everyone gathered at two of the tables near it. A few people were drinking Sarajevsko beer and someone had brought a bottle of domestic brandy to warm us up. I had neither of these spirits but was getting comfortable and drowsy nonetheless, so decided to go to the bathroom before going upstairs to bed.

In the bathroom, I navigated my way to one of the stalls and went in. The toilets were of the European type; basins built into the floor with a hole in the middle. Even with my small flashlight I could hardly see so, hoping my aim was true, I went at it.

Just after finishing, a glow of light appeared in the cracks around the door. I flushed and went out to find a lady standing at the door holding a candle. I was caught still zipping up so was a bit embarrassed but said hello. She just smiled, nodded, and placed the candle on the glass shelf above the middle sink.

I left her doing that and sat down with my wife again. About five minutes later it dawned on me that I had never seen her before... She was not one of us.

My wife thought I was mistaken, that it was probably one of the kitchen girls, but I know it was not. This lady was older and after that incident in the bathroom I never saw her again.

I never said anything to the others, but I did hear them wondering who it was that was kind enough and smart enough to have put a candle in the bathroom. No one claimed to have done it.

Soon my wife and I were in our frigid room, wrapped in sleeping bags, trying to sleep. While she nodded off, I did a crossword puzzle by the light of my flashlight and listened as the conversation downstairs got more and more animated. It seemed one of the girls had had her fair share of the brandy.

I dozed off and awoke when I heard everyone coming up the creaky stairs to bed. I fell back asleep only to wake up later having to go down to the bathroom again. It was freezing and I quickly did my duty and hurried up to my room and into my sleeping bag.

Before I could drift off into slumber, a light outside our door got my attention. The top of the door consisted of a pane of hazy glass and through this I saw the blur of a bright light come from around the hallway, pass my door, and then go down the stairs. A few minutes later it came back up and turned into the hallway again.

I thought little of this until later when I realized four things were wrong with this scene. First, this light was much brighter than the lamp or any other lights used that night. Second, it was gliding, rather than moving as if held by a hand. Third, it moved much too fast to be someone who had just gotten up for a quick trip downstairs and was unfamiliar with the place. And fourth, there was no noise whatsoever, and those steps were very noisy.

Tired from our trip up, I finally fell back asleep and woke up much too early. We went down and had coffee with the others and soon were preparing for our trip down. Another storm was coming so we had to cancel any other plans.

I never mentioned what I saw and heard to the others, but as we made our way back down the mountain, our guide said that a few strange things had happened to him years ago at that same lodge although he never did elaborate as to what they were.

Just over a hill from where we had spent the night, he pointed toward some woods and said they were known to be haunted. This could easily have been a small story to add some flare to the trip, but he told us with a straight face and I did notice that although our route would have been much easier going through those woods, it took a wide arc around them.

Regardless of whether those woods are truly haunted, I do know there is something strange about the lodge. Even my wife, who is completely uninterested in those type of things admitted that she felt strange there and could not explain away many of the things I experienced. The lodge did not scare me much, although it should have since it was kind of creepy. I was just confused as to what was going on and was trying to enjoy the trip.

We plan on making hiking a hobby so someday we may find ourselves at that isolated mountain lodge again. If so, I will be a bit more prepared for all the outsiders who decide to join our party.

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Comments about this paranormal experience

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, troyarn, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

Violet-Tartan (8 posts)
3 years ago (2019-09-04)
This was very well written and enjoyable to read. Thank you so much
troyarn (5 stories) (479 posts)
7 years ago (2015-11-27)
Thanks for the positive feedback, babygoatpuller! I am back and hopefully will be quicker to respond to anyone out there. As for stories, I do have a few more I'm planning on posting. Hope you enjoy them. Have a great weekend!
babygoatpuller (4 stories) (432 posts)
7 years ago (2015-11-26)
Troyarn- I was so happy to see you back! I agree with everyone else. You're writing skills are exceptional and I do hope you've come with some more great stories for us. Are you still in Boznia?
troyarn (5 stories) (479 posts)
7 years ago (2015-11-26)
Thanks for enjoying my story and believing it (I'm a sceptic myself). I apologize for how long it's taken me to respond, but I've not been on the computer for some time. I hope I can clear a few things up for you concerning my story.
First, we left the city of Sarajevo and headed quite a few miles away to a small village by train. There, we walked some miles to a place where a U-Haul type truck was waiting for us. It took us several more miles to the base of a mountain. From there, we hiked up (from what I was told) seven kilometers and because of the heavy snow, it took about four hours (sometimes the snow came to my waist and I'm six feet tall. Also, there were no roads open to this place).
Our "home" for that time was situated about 200 to 300 yards above another small village that was only used in the spring to herd sheep. In the winter it was deserted.
As for the "man" down in the village that looked up and waved at me, he could have seen me. While we had no electricity in the place, the main room, from which I saw him through a window, was lit up by flashlights, candles, and the stove. It wasn't well lit, but he may have seen my shape staring out into the night. I do, however, believe you are correct when you said he might have "sensed" me since he was looking the other way, toward the village, then suddenly turned and seemed to look up then waved. Like I said, it freaked me out so bad I hid along the wall (that sounds lame, but wait until it happens to you).
In mountaineering, if you're going somewhere, you first have to make sure the people who own the place know you're coming so they can prepare. After mentioning the man down at the village to everyone, the girls who ran the place said no one else was supposed to be there. Was this just some guy doing his own hiking? That could be true. But remember... This was an isolated area and there was a brutal storm raging. The next day some of our group went down to the village for another look and saw no one there (they were mostly just taking photos of the village and of course the snow would have covered any tracks). All I know is that this person wasn't supposed to be where he was.
Now, concerning the lady with the candle; as I mentioned, it's custom to let everyone who runs these places where we stay know that we're coming so they can prepare food and lodging. When we got there, we met the men who worked there, the others who had stopped in, and then the two girls who ran the kitchen came out to introduce themselves.
I never met or saw the lady with the candle except when she came into that bathroom. Please remember that it's not like America. It was a large bathroom and the "toilets" were holes in the floor you flush. Both men and women went to the same place and I was not used to this.
The lady was older, but not elderly. I was in my thirties, so I'd say she was mid-fifties (that's not old!). She was shorter than me, but I can't tell you how tall. She wasn't heavy but not thin... Somewhere in between, and she had grey, black hair tied in a bun on her head. She wore an apron and older clothes, but then again so do many cooks and servers here. And she was completely there... Not transparent or anything. Also, there was no noise at all. As for her entrance, I was about to enter a stall when I saw the glow of the candle come so stopped. She just smiled and sat the candle down and left. I never saw her again.
I'm getting long winded here so I'll close. I hope this answers some of your questions. If you have more, please write and I'll do the same quicker than I have here. Hope you enjoy the holidays and hope to hear back from you soon!
WillowWaly (2 stories) (97 posts)
7 years ago (2015-09-09)
Troyarn, I hope you are still reading these comments now and again. I like all your stories, but this one in particular was one of the creepiest I've ever read, or heard, in a lifetime of being fascinated by real ghost stories. You told it beautifully, making it vivid and engaging yet understated enough to remain believable (and I'm a skeptic).

I agree that the man in the empty winter village who stood around in solitude for so long, and turned and waved at you when you saw him again, yet never came up to seek shelter, is somehow the freakiest part. How far away was the village? You said he was a tiny figure in the distance. Could he have seen you in the window? Were you backlit or anything? I have the uneasy feeling he just 'sensed' you were looking at him, rather than seeing you, but wondered how visible you thought you might have been at the time, just to add visual possibilities to the mix.

If he was a real person, would he have missed the last train away for the night? Was this the same village at which you had disembarked from the train, or a different village altogether?

Regarding the lady with the candle... My first thought was that because others saw and appreciated the candle in the bathroom, without hearing the story of the lady (which it sounds like you mentioned only to your wife), it was a real physical candle. That made me wonder if the lady you saw could have been a real person, perhaps a reclusive, or politely unobtrusive, housekeeper. There were other staff living in the lodge, after all, and it sounds like there was plenty of space, and even noises from upstairs when everyone was accounted for downstairs.

What did the lady with the candle look like? What was she wearing? Any impression at all? Short, tall, thin, fat, long hair, short hair, age? You mention her being older -- older like elderly, or just older than anyone in your party? Did she make any noise when she entered the bathroom, or was it just the glow of the candle that alerted you to her presence?

I ask these things not because I disbelieve your story, but because I am so curious about it! I can almost see these scenes playing out in my mind like a wonderfully atmospheric movie. Again, that's not a doubt, but a compliment. In fact, I'd go see that movie in a heartbeat. 😁
troyarn (5 stories) (479 posts)
7 years ago (2015-02-14)
I'm glad you liked the story, avenger_topdawg, and thanks for posting. The Balkans is a beautiful area with some great people (one of whom I am married to). I do have a few more stories that take place in Sarajevo and Croatia that I should put up.
As for people thinking we are the same person, we are not. I never served in the U.S. Military while in the Balkans and have never been to Tuzla. The first time I stepped foot in Bosnia was in 2005 as a civilian.
I hope that clears things up for a few people.
Again, thanks very much for the comments, avenger_dawg.
avenger_topdawg (2 stories) (22 posts)
7 years ago (2015-02-09)

This is one of my favorite stories on this site. Honestly, I decided to share my limited experiences after reading this a few times. I only recently joined and this is this is the first story I read, as I was browsing the web for ghost stories about Bosnia and this was the first link that popped up. I enjoyed the narration and realism, it seemed as if I could place myself there as well. I served in Bosnia with SFOR 5 and had the pleasure of visiting Sarajevo on a day trip. Very beautiful country and culture. I'm sure you've moved on with other stories, but could you clarify for a few people, that uou are not me and I'm not you? I think some who've read my story think I'm you under a different name lol. Again, great story!

Savoking123 (1 posts)
8 years ago (2014-02-08)
Im From Bosnia I Would Like The Name of the Village If You Can Tell Me 😁
troyarn (5 stories) (479 posts)
11 years ago (2011-07-22)
Thanks for reading the story, luce, and I'm glad you enjoyed it.
luce (2 stories) (44 posts)
11 years ago (2011-06-27)
Another awesome story troyarn!:)
I hope if I ever meet a ghost, it would be like the old lady there.
NSZ (2 posts)
11 years ago (2011-01-16)
What EXACTLY is this village's name? By the way I like your story very much.I'm from Bosnia. 😉
troyarn (5 stories) (479 posts)
12 years ago (2010-08-17)
Thanks for the kind words, ghostfox96! I'm happy you were able to enjoy my story and, as usual, I will say that all I write is true. Thanks for your input and I do hope to have a few more on here sometime soon.
ghostfox96 (1 stories) (25 posts)
12 years ago (2010-08-08)
hm, that was freaking scary.
Just thought I would say stories on this site haven't scared me before but yours do. You're such a good writer I feel like I was there 😐.
I loveeee itt!xxx
troyarn (5 stories) (479 posts)
12 years ago (2010-03-11)
Thanks for the comments, Sassy! Yes, it is a true story and one I will always remember. It's a beautiful country with some history so I guess I shouldn't have been surprised to see a few odd things here and there. I do have a few more stories from Bosnia that I plan on posting soon and hope you will like them as well.

Again, thanks for commenting and I am glad I was able to write well enough for you to enjoy my story. Have a great week!
Sassy_Lash3s (2 stories) (22 posts)
12 years ago (2010-03-05)
wow, amazing story! I think this is my favorite, its so very detailed, and it feels so real.
troyarn (5 stories) (479 posts)
13 years ago (2009-01-30)

Thanks for the comments on my story. I'm glad you were able to enjoy it!

I have to agree that perhaps these were spirits who might have died out in the cold or from the war that happened there about ten years ago.
It truly did freak me out (later) that I could see them so well... It wasn't all the misty, transparent stuff one would expect.
All I know for sure is that it was not a scary experience, but a very weird one.
DeviousAngel (11 stories) (1910 posts)
13 years ago (2009-01-29)
This story became my second-ever favorite on this. I really love the way it's written so detailed. I feel like I'm really there.

Thanks for sharing this experience with us! I know I'm a bit late on commenting, but better late than never, right? I agree that these spirits didn't seem malevolent in any way. Maybe some people who got caught out in the storm and never made it to the lodge? Or perhaps got lost in the woods and came to the lodge for refuge, thinking they were still alive? Maybe that's why the manifestations were so clear to you.

troyarn (5 stories) (479 posts)
14 years ago (2008-08-07)
Hamza, I lived with a friend in St. Louis for a few months in one of the suburbs (more like hung out). What do you think of that city? I never really got to know it well, but thought it was ok.
As for here, I love Sarajevo and the food is EXCELLENT (if I had my way, I would live off of burek and cevapi-sorry for the wrong spelling, but the "c" is all I could get-for the rest of my life).
I used to live near the US embassy, but now live on Skanderija near the big post office downtown (by the river).
When I have some off time I like to just go out and see the city, so I have pretty much been everywhere (although I know there are many places yet to be discovered).
Now, I PROMISE... I will find out the name of the mountain and the lodge SOON. My wife just went to sleep so I will have to ask her in the morning.
Perhaps friends of yours have had things happen there.
As for Jinn, I know little about them so am going to look them up.
It's great to read from someone who lived here. I hope you like St. Louis and that you do get back next summer. Sarajevo is changing quite a bit so you might not recognise some places.
Have a great weekend and I do hope to hear from you again!
hamza (3 posts)
14 years ago (2008-08-07)
thanks for the reply, while I was born in Sarajevo, I now live in St.Louis. Hopefully next summer, ill come back to my hometown and check this place out. How do you like the city. Great food, right?
troyarn (5 stories) (479 posts)
14 years ago (2008-08-07)
Hello Hamza! It was cool to get a comment from someone in Sarajevo. I will definitely get the name of the lodge and the mountain for you very soon!
I really did not pay attention to details when going since I was paying more attention to the beauty around me.
Still, I do have the information somewhere around here.
I feel like an idiot for not getting info ready earlier, but things have been a bit hectic here for me.
If you are into mountaineering, let me know where you go and if you have seen anything strange.
The mountain is south of Sarajevo (you can it from the city, but we were on the other side of it).
I will find a map so as to give everyone the name of the lodge as well as the mountain.
hamza (3 posts)
14 years ago (2008-08-05)
hi, I really enjoyed your story. I actually come from Sarajevo. I was wondering where exactly this mountain is and its name. What part of Sarajevo do you live? Did you ever consider that these ghosts you saw might be jinns?
troyarn (5 stories) (479 posts)
14 years ago (2008-08-05)
I'm glad you enjoyed, Karyn. As for this experience, I was never expecting or wanting anything to be going on. I was in a foreign country in a very isolated and foreign area and just trying to enjoy the scenery and be able to communicate with those around me.
As others have said, it seems these spirits were good and I have to again say that there was never any real fear here, just a weird feeling and then the realization that we had a few too many folks hanging around.
Enjoy the rest of your week and I hope you will like the next true story I plan on submitting here.
Karyn (1 stories) (63 posts)
14 years ago (2008-08-05)
Hi there Troyarn. I enjoyed your story very much. Personal experiences seem much more interesting sometimes than group ones to me because how an individual handles these thigs alone vary to many degrees. You seem to have come out fine with some great stories to tell. I wonder how old the place is and why or what makes the forest haunted?
If you ever go back try to find out! 😊
troyarn (5 stories) (479 posts)
14 years ago (2008-08-04)
Thanks for reading, TheUnknown! I have been asking around, but not many people seem to know much about the history (or say they don't).
The man down in the village really freaked me out since it seemed he was waving directly at ME and not randomly trying to get someone's attention.
I am still trying to find out all I can on the area.

Good to hear from you again, ChrisB! I am glad you enjoyed the story. I am from Kansas, so this was basically my first real hiking trip in the mountains (great way to start, eh?).
Although there was the war here in Bosnia in the last decade, I do not feel it had anything to do with the hauntings in that place.
I would have to agree with you and say it was accidents and things of that nature (or maybe some people just loved the place so much that they stayed).

Thanks for giving me some feedback TheUnknown and ChrisB, and I hope you enjoy your week.

As for more stories, I have a few more to tell and will hopefully get them approved for this site.
ChrisB (6 stories) (1515 posts)
14 years ago (2008-08-04)
Hello troyarn. I realy enjoyed reading your story! I have to say it is one of my favourites. I just couldn't get my eyes of the page. I to love the mountains but after this story I don't think I will stay for a night up in a cabin in the mountains. Do you know any history about the mountains. There could have been some accidents because in the mountains everything can be dangerous. Thanks again and I hope you post another great story soon. I hope to hear from you soon and take care
TheUnknown (1 stories) (192 posts)
14 years ago (2008-08-03)
Try finding some history to find the past about the lodge. I say that was a good story you have written, but make sure find out about the ghostly man and woman.

Its a good idea not to disturb those spirits again.
FRAWIN (guest)
14 years ago (2008-08-03)
Hello troyarn. Thank you for sharing your story with us. I enjoyed it tremendously. I was well written and very detailed. I will be anxiously awaiting your next story. Take Care.

rhodes68 (14 stories) (1596 posts)
14 years ago (2008-08-02)
Troy, I wouldn't want to disappoint you but my accent is a nice confusing mixture of Australian-American (emphasis on the American) so if I try as much as uttering one word of English, I'm busted! I don't think that will improve your image to your Serbian father-in-law 😊

I know what you mean concerning people's attitude towards certain countries but thank God, there are always exceptions.
troyarn (5 stories) (479 posts)
14 years ago (2008-08-01)
Thanks for reading, Bellissima! Glad you enjoyed it. I also thank you for the comments on my writing. I am no Hemingway, but I like to think that when I tell a story, others will be able to enjoy it (and yes, all stories I submit are TRUE).

As for the guide, I have talked to him a bit but he seems reluctant to confirm or tell any personal experiences. You must understand that I am an American here, and many folks are weary of me (as if I am some spy or something).
I have hiked with him another time, however, and I do believe he is warming up. So maybe there is hope yet for another story (about him).
I will now look into posting the photos, but to me they are bogus mistakes. But the one thing I LOVE about this site is that everyone gives it there all to find out the TRUTH to what they see or read. Perhaps there is something there. If not, I hope to find out.
Either way, thanks for taking the time to read my tale and commenting. I always enjoy you coming on and giving me your thoughts.

Dan, I thank you for commenting. Like I said, I love this site because all you folks tell it as you see it. For the longest time I thought all this was just plain weird. Now, I see that they probably were good spirits and just helping out a bit (I wish they made the food better).
It was a strange visit, but not evil at all. Thanks again for your input.

Tammy, Greece is beautiful and I was sad not to get there, but be careful with the fire! You did a great deed to try and stop such a horrid thing, but we need you around a bit longer.
Although I have been close to Novi Sad, I am an American and for some odd reason they really do not like us there in Serbia for now (yep, sarcasm).
But you know how beautiful the land is and I wish you and your husband the best of luck there.
Strange to say, my father in law is a Serb (no wonder he is making my life here torture!).
I will post the photos soon, but again think they are lame. Possibly you all can see something I cannot.
Take care and no more fires! Get yourself to Serbia and tell them Troy is not so bad.
And have a great weekend!
Bellissima (12 stories) (792 posts)
14 years ago (2008-08-01)
Hi again, troyarn. Thank you for sharing another account of your experiences. I truly enjoy reading your stories.It's a pleasure, they are always so well written. There must be some interesting history behind the area, I'd love to know about it if you find anything. Since the guide mentioned he had some unusual experiences at the lodge and actually said the woods were known to be haunted, maybe you could contact him and see if he would elaborate on those statements. Could you post the photos you mentioned? I know what you mean about orb photos but it would be great to have a look at them. Once again, thanks for sharing your story.I'm looking forward to more of your experiences, and hopefully the pics and history of the lodge.

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