Newburyport native creates podcast on ghost stories, legends and folklore

Kara McGuirk-Allison

NEWBURYPORT — Port native and radio producer Kara McGuirk-Allison is launching a new ghost-centered podcast this fall with the help of the paranormal investigation team Dead of Night.

The 11-episode series, “The Ghost In My Room,” will explore historic locations in Maryland and Pennsylvania, which may or may not be haunted, with an eye toward the folklore and legends that have been passed down over time.

McGuirk-Allison, an award-winning former NPR producer who lives in Annapolis, Maryland, with her husband and their son, finds the stories surrounding these locations, and lets Dead of Night do its best to convince her, and listeners, that there is something truly paranormal at work.

“I’m sort of interested in the history of the people and the places,” she said. “I think I remain an interested skeptic.”

While most of the episodes will focus on specific locations, McGuirk-Allison will conduct a general exploration of folklore in the final episode and how it forms an important part of oral history.

“The whole series is not just about ghost stories, but legends and folklore and why we love this stuff,” she explained. And that’s where it connects to home for her.

McGuirk-Allison said she developed an interest in history while growing up in Newburyport, but never had the chance to produce a history podcast until now.

“It really does stem from growing up in Newburyport. My home was built in the 1880s, and I really thought it was haunted,” said McGuirk-Allison, who graduated from Newburyport High School in 1991.

Since she’s begun work on “The Ghost In My Room,” McGuirk-Allison has had a number of other Newburyport natives come to her with their own stories of odd, unexplained activity from their childhoods.

“It’s amazing how many people have come out of the woodwork and said, ‘I had a ghost, too.’” she said, attributing this to “the number of old houses on the East Coast and the incredible history that we have.”

“The Ghost In My Room” came together after McGuirk-Allison started her own consulting company last year, Platform Media. She previously worked for NPR, doing production work on podcasts that included “Hidden Brain” and “Justice Talking.”

After starting her consulting company, McGuirk-Allison quickly realized that she didn’t have the experience of producing a podcast entirely on her own without the help of NPR. So she decided to start work on “The Ghost In My Room” to expand her knowledge and better serve her clients.

It was also a pet project that she had been thinking of starting for a while. And with the first season almost wrapped up, McGuirk-Allison is already considering a second. 

While she originally hoped that Season 2 might take the team around the country, McGuirk-Allison now thinks they haven’t even scratched the surface in Maryland and Pennsylvania, and will have to stick around.

But she doesn’t completely rule out the possibility of traveling up north.

“The dream would be to go back up to Newburyport,” McGuirk-Allison said. Her husband is also a Newburyport High grad.

“The Ghost In My Room” begins Sunday. For more on the podcast, go to

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