Jessica Bloustein Marshall

Producer, Listen With The Lights On

Jessica Bloustein Marshall is a Capital Region native with a diverse background in multimedia news reporting and production. After earning a Masters degree in broadcast journalism from Northwestern University, she served as the Capital District Bureau Chief for WAMC, followed by stints at Newsweek and Time, Inc, MTV News, Mental Floss and Backstage.

She’s also a decorated competitive figure skater, writer, choral singer and mom.

Ways to Connect

Listen With The Lights On, a WAMC podcast, has migrated its feed to There, listeners can find all of our past episodes as well as new episodes, featuring legends and lore from Utica to Springfield and Montreal to New York City and beyond. Subscribe on your podcast app of choice, and stay tuned in the coming months for many more exciting (and terrifying) tales!

Roth Hall at the Culinary Institute of America
Jessica Bloustein Marshall

Along the banks of the Hudson River, roughly halfway between New York City and Albany, lies one of the country's most famous centers of culinary learning: The Culinary Institute of America. Countless chefs have passed through its venerable Roth Hall, a signature behemoth of a building dating back to the early 1900s. Roth Hall houses a variety of classrooms, kitchens, dining rooms and administrative offices. And like many universities, it is home to its share of legends. 

It's part 2 of Tales from the Tavern, our live event recorded at the Olde English Pub in Albany, New York. In this episode you’ll hear us talk to live audience members about the stories from their childhood and around the region. 

This week we bring you the first of a two-part special broadcast from our first-ever “Tales from the Tavern” live event. We hosted a two-hour panel at the Olde English Pub in Albany with special guests Maeve McEneny and Paul Nooney of the Original Albany Ghost Tour.

It's an urban legend you've probably heard before in some form. You saw it play out in a movie, or read it in a book. It's the one about the innocent couple who goes "parking" one fine summer night. They pull up to a discreet spot at the edge of a wood, a spot with a romantic reputation among locals, where the stars light the skies above and love is in the air.



Every year on Christmas Eve, millions of children around the world go to bed with the expectation of waking up to a house full of presents on Christmas morning. The bearer of gifts? A portly, white-bearded old man in a red suit with a cheery disposition and a herd of magical flying reindeer.

Silar / Wikimedia Commons

Why does a baker's dozen equal 13? There are multiple theories as to why, and how it came to be. Some say it started in the 13th century, when English King Henry III was annoyed by crooked bakers selling undersized loaves of bread, and created a regulation size.  

Others say the convention has more modern origins.

Marker for the legend of Amos Clayton in Schoharie county.
New York Folklore Society

There are historical markers all over the world. They are typically signs, placards or statues denoting some important bit of history that occurred in a particular place. But in some places, history and lore are heavily intertwined. New York State is trying something new to reflect this powerful connection. 

Ragliacci the Clown

It hasn't been a great season for those with a fear of clowns. What with the slew of typical horrifying clown masks parading around town on Halloween, and also with a remarkable number of creepy clown sightings making headlines and circulating on social media.  On this episode of Listen with the Lights on, we wanted to get to the bottom of this fright...So we talked to a clown.

The back entrance to West Hall
Jessica Bloustein Marshall

 According to an Associated Press Survey from 2008, 34 percent of Americans say they believe in ghosts. Other surveys, like a Gallup poll from 2005, report similar results–about one third of America thinks ghosts are real. But given the immense popularity of “ghost-hunting” reality series that have hit TV ad the internet in the last decade or so, it seems that it’s no longer enough to just believe in them. Seeing (or hearing) is believing. 

'Food for the Dead'

  Vampires are a pillar of modern pop culture. From Edward Cullen to Dracula – they’re depicted as blood-thirsty, nocturnal immortals, sometimes with the power of transfiguration, an allergy to garlic and in desperate need of sun block. But you don’t hear a lot of real-life claims of folks actually encountering them anywhere but on screen or in the pages of a book. That’s because they’re entirely mythical. Or so we thought.

Berkshire Museum's Something Spooky Exhibit
Jim Levulis

Ever wonder what lives in the cavernous storage rooms of a museum? Crates of artifacts, mixed with mummified remains and taxidermy? Or is there something even spookier? 

Haunted Montreal

In the southwestern part of downtown Montreal, the Griffintown neighborhood lies along the Lachine Canal. First settled by Irish immigrants who came to Canada in the 1800s, it went on to become the center of the city’s industrial revolution. Today, it has become part of Montreal’s Quartier de l’Innovation, a center of economic development and entrepreneurship.

Chef Marc Murphy
Cedric Angeles HR

  The Saratoga Wine & Food Festival is underway this weekend at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. The annual culinary event regularly draws celebrity chefs, including Chef Marc Murphy. Murphy is known for his turn as a judge on the Food Network’s hit show ‘Chopped,’ as well as for his Benchmarc restaurants in New York. Murphy spoke recently to WAMC’s Jessica Bloustein Marshall about food, cooking and coming to Saratoga. 

The Deyo House
AJ Shenkman

In the late 1600s, a group of French protestant families—Huguenots, as they were known—settled in New York’s Hudson Valley. Looking for religious freedom—they were heavily persecuted in their French Catholic homeland—they built small stone houses and formed a community in and around what is now the town of New Paltz.

The tobogganing ghost
Haunted Montreal

While there are common threads in lore throughout the world, nearly every country and culture has its own distinct tales. In the United Kingdom for example, many stories revolve around mystical creatures in the rolling hills and mists that are characteristic of the landscape. In the United States, we talk a lot about Bigfoot, who allegedly roams our forests and mountains.

In Canada, snow and winter imagery play a large role in legends there. On this episode of Listen with the Lights On, we explore a French Canadian tale from Montreal.

A sign points the way to the UFO Conference in Kingston
Jessica Bloustein Marshall

Are UFOs and alien encounters the stuff of science fiction, or are we really not alone out there in the universe?

Cherry Tree Deer

Symbols of nature takes various forms in the myths and legends around the world. But some of them… have common themes. Today Master storyteller Jonathan Kruk joins us as we explore one of the most common ones in a tale from the Catskills in New York’s Hudson Valley.

  The Legislative Gazette is a weekly program about New York State Government and politics. On this week's Gazette: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump cancels a planned appearance in Plattsburgh, our political observer Alan Chartock weighs in on the possibility of legislative pay raises, and we’ll have a look at the progress of some of the state’s economic development programs. 

The entrance to Jackson's Garden on the campus of Union College in Schenectady, New York
Jessica Bloustein Marshall

  A moonlit garden on the grounds of Union College in Schenectady plays host to one of the oldest ghost tales in the country. Forbidden love. Blind, murderous rage. And a lost soul. We explore the tragic tale of Alice Van Der Veer in this episode of Listen with the Lights On.

Podcast: The Hauntings Of West Hall

Jul 17, 2016
West Hall, RPI
Danski14 / Wikimedia Commons

Visit any college or university campus in the world, and you’re likely to find at least one tale of a ghostly presence amid the hallowed halls. West Hall is the oldest building at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. And it’s also the most haunted.

  In this episode, we bring you another terrifying tale from the heart of New York's Hudson Valley. Master Storyteller Jonathan Kruk joins us again with a story of ghosts, a haunting and the horrors of indentured servitude in Colonial times.


Mt. Greylock is the tallest natural point in Massachusetts. At 3,491 feet above sea level, it rises above the Berkshire county town of Adams, bisected by a portion of the Appalachian trail. The peak and its historic monument are constantly shrouded in mist and fog, and often beset by unpredictable weather. And the quiet summit possesses mystical qualities that have inspired great American writers like Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville. Well now, it seems, it has inspired a very famous British writer—and now plays a very pivotal role in the expanding universe of J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world.

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An urban legend is a popular story passed around that's allegedly true, but can't quite be confirmed. It's the kid who ate PopRocks and drank soda and his stomach exploded. It's the unfortunate tweeners who turned the lights out at their sleepover and called into the mirror for Bloody Mary. Or the poor sap who woke up sans kidneys in a bathtub full of ice. We've all heard them, and probably even told a few ourselves. They're modern folklore. Contemporary legends. In this episode of Listen With The Lights On, we explore an urban legend in Albany, New York, with local lore expert Maeve McEneny.

The Ghostly Rower
World's End, 1992 woodcut print. By Vic Schwarz, Courtesy of the Vic Schwarz family through the Putnam County Museum & Foundry School Museum, Cold Spring, New York

  If you've ever taken a trip down the shores of the Hudson River, no doubt at one point you've witnessed its hallmark mists rising from the waters. They have a ghostly quality about them, and not surprisingly there is an abundance of lore based on apparitions witnessed within them. We bring back Master Storyteller Jonathan Kruk on this episode of Listen With The Lights On, who will tell us one such tale—the tale of the ghostly rower.

picture of scary story tellers
Jesse Wagstaff | Flickr

Is the devil in the details? On this episode of Listen With The Lights On, we explore how to capitalize on basic human fear to compose a creepy narrative, examine scary tropes, share our favorite spooky reads and try to come up with a spine-tingling tale of our two sentences or less. Novelist and writing instructor Barbara Chepaitis, author of "The Amber," joins us. 

 (Airs 5/27/16) The Legislative Gazette is a weekly program about New York State Government and politics. On this week's Gazette: amid questions over a federal probe, a board controlled by Governor Andrew Cuomo and the legislative leaders voted to approve over $485 million for the Buffalo Billion project, our political observer Alan Chartock shares his thoughts on the Buffalo Billion vote, and health advocates gather at the state capitol in Albany to call for closure of what they call an “e-cigarette loophole."

A doll in the upstairs room in Ten Broeck Mansion.
Patrick Garrett/WAMC

On the last episode of Listen with the Lights On, Maeve McEneny of the Albany County Convention & Visitors Bureau was giving us a tour of Albany’s Ten Broeck Mansion. We ended in the foyer in Part I, looking out the imposing front doors. Now we’re going upstairs, where many a psychic and ghost hunter has claimed lies the epicenter of supernatural activity in the almost 230-year-old house. 

Ten Broeck Mansion in Albany sits just north of the city's downtown. Views from the historic home's gardens and from its elegant windows look out over row houses, industrial buildings and US Route 787. But it wasn't always this way. In 1789, when it was built by Abraham Ten Broeck, it was farmland as far as the eye could see to the north, south and west, and a casual glance from an east-facing window would produce an unimpeded view of the Hudson River. There's a lot of history here, and a lot of spirit—literally. On this episode of Listen with the Lights on, we take a peek inside with Maeve McEneny. 

(Airs 4/29/16) The Legislative Gazette is a weekly program about New York State Government and politics. On this week's Gazette: New York City mayor Bill De Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo appear to be at odds again, this time as the U.S. Attorney is investigating de Blasio’s fundraising tactics. Anti-pipeline activists are putting pressure on the state to stop a natural gas pipeline expansion after two other pipeline plans were dropped. Our political observer Alan Chartock shares his thoughts on the effect of the New York primaries on the presidential race, and we’ll take a look at efforts to fight the opioid addiction crisis in upstate New York.