Halloween Blogfest: Coleen Kwan

Port Arthur ghosts
by Coleen Kwan

One of the creepiest places I have visited has to be Port Arthur, Tasmania. For those of you who don’t know Tasmania, it is an island state of Australia situated to the south of the Australian continent. Port Arthur was a penal colony was built by the British during the 18th century to house the worst prisoners. It was a place specifically built for punishment, and hundreds of convicts spend years of misery here.

I visited this place many years ago during winter, and as I wandered through the chilly stone buildings and smelled the musty air, it was all too easy to imagine the ghosts of convicts past lingering in the ruins. Some prisoners, driven to despair by their harsh conditions, even committed murder in order to receive the death penalty and thereby find an escape. All who died at Port Arthur were buried on the nearby Island of the Dead.

The cruelty inflicted on the prisoners was not only physical but psychological too. A Model prison was built at Port Arthur, where prisoners were kept in solitary confinement. Every prisoner sent to Port Arthur had to spend some time in the Model prison, depending on the gravity of his crime. Instead of whippings, prisoners were isolated and forced to remain silent. If a prisoner misbehaved, he was sent to the ‘dumb cell’, a solid stone cell without any light or sound, for anything up to thirty days. The system of silence and solitary confinement in the Model prison was supposed to make prisoners reflect on their wrong doings, but instead caused untold mental torture.

A walk through the cells of the Model prison is a chilling experience. Even when the prisoners attended chapel they were separated from each other and were not allowed to speak with each other. I ventured down into the ‘dumb cell’ and when the door was shut, I lasted only a few minutes before I came scrambling out again, desperate for light and air.

Despite its forbidding history, Port Arthur is also a site of great natural beauty. Perhaps the ghosts that dwell here can take some comfort from their scenic surroundings, finally free from their tortuous lives.

Coleen Kwan

Leave a comment for a chance to win an ebook copy of Darke London.

DarkeLondon_B_compressedDarke London (Uncanny Chronicles, Book 1)

The only way to save her life is to resurrect the dead…

Julian Darke was only a newborn when he was abandoned on the doorstep of a gentleman doctor. Though raised with love, he is driven to discover his true origins.

Convinced Sir Thaddeus Ormond knows something, Julian shadows him one night—and is shocked to see a young woman thrown from Ormond’s carriage and accosted by a thug. Julian manages to save her life, but not her face and hands from horrific injuries.

Nellie Barchester doesn’t recognize the scarred, disfigured stranger in the mirror. Though the gifted doctor and engineer has done his best to repair the damage, scars ravage her body, and chill her soul with the realization that her own husband may have plotted her death.

Julian’s tenderness is a balm to her soul, and Nellie is drawn to the edge of passion by a man not repelled by her deformities. But as their pursuit of the truth draws them into London’s underbelly, they cross the path of a ruthless enemy who will stop at nothing to fulfill his schemes.

Warning: Can a brilliant but troubled doctor find happiness with a woman scarred both inside and out? A hint of the supernatural plus a night of passion spice up this Uncanny Chronicle.

Buy the book at Samhain , Amazon , Barnes and Noble, iTunes, Google Play, or Amazon UK.

About the Author: Coleen Kwan has been a bookworm all her life. At school English was her favorite subject, but for some reason she decided on a career in IT. After many years of programming, she wondered what else there was in life — and discovered writing. She loves writing contemporary romance and steampunk romance.

Coleen lives in Sydney, Australia with her partner and two children. When she isn’t writing she enjoys avoiding housework, eating chocolate, and watching Criminal Minds.

Website: www.coleenkwan.com
Twitter: www.twitter.com/ColeenKwan
Facebook: www.facebook.com/coleenkwan.authorpage
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5210210.Coleen_Kwan


  1. This sounds awesome!! It is going on my TBR list right now!

    Happy Halloween!


    Erzabetwrites at gmail dot com

  2. Sounds like an interesting place

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

  3. Barbara Elness says:

    I’m fascinated with stories set in Australia, it’s such an interesting place so different than my home. I think Darke London sounds like a fantastic story and I’m looking forward to reading it.

    Barbed1951 at aol dot com

  4. Spooky. 🙂
    I was just talking to my mom last night, while we were Trick or Treating with the kids, about things like this. They fascinate me! Thank you for sharing.
    trb0917 at gmail dot com

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