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Friday, March 13, 2020

Friday the 13th....and celebrating a new release from Shannon Lawrence

A wonderful blogger friend, Shannon Lawrence, is celebrating the release of her new short story collection today!

On Friday the 13th????

But of course!

If you happen to know Shannon Lawrence, it's clear that today is perfect for her tales. She swims in all things spooky, dark, suspenseful, and tension-filled.

To help celebrate, we're to tell our own spooky tales, reveal our favorite urban myths or even gallop into the world of dark mythology. Every time, I think of spooky things I've run across during my life so far, I can't help but think of Dvigrad. I'm going to cheat a little here because there isn't really a ghost story surrounding this little-known place in Croatia. It's simply the town (or what remains of it) and it's history, which left a mark on me... in their own, chilling way.


This isn't a place usually found on most people's 'top tourist sights' lists. It's an abandoned, midieval town in central Istrian, Croatia, in the Draga Valley. Translated, Dvigrad means two towns. These settlements were around before the Romans moved in and lived in normal conditions until the Venetians took them over. Around 1345, war broke out between the Patriarchs, and it was besieged and conquered. In 1383, the Venetians won power again, took Dvigrad over, slaughtered the citizens, stole the riches from the church and remained in control. In 1616, it was devastated again during the war between Venice and Austria. The real downfall started in 1631 with the plague. By 1714, the last building occupied, the church, was abandoned. 

Now, none of this is really creepy in a ghostly way...or scary. But you have to picture the ruins of over 220 buildings, including a high, surrounding wall, all grown in by trees, bushes and vines. No one goes there. The supposed parking place to stop there and view it is a small, dirt area where weeds are somewhat kept at bay. We wandered the place for over two hours and not another soul was there the entire time.

It's so strange, walking down the streets of an ancient, abandoned town, while the buildings...although in ruins...still stand enough to be recognized with doors and windows and walls. The population wasn't small when the the town was occupied...it was a main trading place, thriving with life. And yet, all of it stands empty and forgotten. It's said almost all of them died of the plague.

And that abandoned, sad atmosphere rings with every step one takes.

No one has tried to keep back nature. No one has tried to put up signs or even make it friendly for anyone to walk through. Even walking through it is very dangerous. We followed a small path, which found itself more and more thickly grown on both sides. Suddenly, we realized the bushes had mutated to treetops and that we were walking along a path maybe 3 feet wide with over a 15 foot drop-off on both sides...and that on an ancient stone wall. (Noticing this while walking around with two young kids, who might have accidentally stepped off the side, was a real heart-stopper.)

So, is this a scary story? Maybe not. But walking down these streets left an odd feeling of strangeness I doubt I'll ever experience again. And it left a mark, I'll remember for life.

If you want to see some pictures (because I have no idea what pile my husband put ours into), head on over here.

Bruised Souls & Other Torments
 Short Stories

by  Shannon Lawrence

Fear resides in the soul.

A welcoming widow with a twisted appetite; a war-time evil lurking behind the face of a child; a father’s love gone horribly wrong; a deadly government solution; a new job with a demonic pay scale; a woman trapped in a mysterious house with no memory of who she is or how she got there. These are a mere glimpse of the terrors that lie in wait in this collection of horror short stories, sure to grip the psyche and torment the soul.  

Amazon pre-order link:

You can stalk Shannon Lawrence...


  1. That does sound eerie. Hopefully you can find your own photos and share. Odd that no one has done anything with the town - or put up signs and fences to keep people out. (Like they do with some ghost and mining towns here.)

  2. Eek! That 15 foot drop sounds scary - add in the haunting loneliness of an abandoned space and that is memorable!

  3. What a cool place to visit! And definitely creepy. Abandoned/ghost towns are a favorite of mine. There's something incredibly eerie about an abandoned place where humans used to be. This town reminds me of the places near Chernobyl and other suddenly abandoned places that were left intact and that nature slowly takes hold of. Thank you for taking part today and helping to get the word out about Bruised Souls!

  4. Whew, lucky to have spotted that drop! Definitely not a place to visit in the dark, but a great place to get inspiration for writing horror!

  5. I think abandoned cities are creepy. I've walked through my share of ghost towns, and cemeteries, feeling the oppressiveness all the time. Its just wrong.

  6. This cover could give a scaredy-cat gal nightmares. LOL. I bet the stories are just as chilling!

    We camped in Hagerstown, MD and I kept thinking of all the history and violence that took place in the area and had myself seeing ghosts and sleeping with a Bible.


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