We must relate the story of an extraordinary ghost, somewhat lacking in good manners, yet not without a certain distorted sense of humour. Absolutely incredible though the tale may seem, yet it comes on very good authority. It was related to our informant, Mr. D., by a Mrs. C., whose daughter he had employed as governess. Mrs. C., who is described as"a woman of respectable position and good education," heard it in her turn from her father and mother. In the story the relationship of the different persons seems a little involved, but it would appear that the initial A belongs to the surname both of Mrs. C.’s father and grandfather.
This ghost was commonly called "Corney" by the family, and he answered to this though it was not his proper name. He disclosed this latter to Mr. C.’s mother, who forgot it. Corney made his presence manifest to the A— family shortly after they had gone to reside in Street in the following manner. Mr. A— had sprained his knee badly, and had to use a crutch, which at night was left at the head of his bed. One night his wife heard some one walking on the lobby, thump, thump, thump, as if imitating Mr. A—. She struck a match to see if the crutch had been removed from the head of the bed, but it was still there.
From that on Corney commenced to talk, and he spoke every day from his usual habitat, the coal-cellar off the kitchen. His voice sounded as if it came out of an empty barrel.
He was very troublesome, and continually played practical jokes on the servants, who, as might be expected, were in terror of their lives of him; so much so that Mrs. A— could hardly induce them to stay with her. They used to sleep in a press-bed in the kitchen, and in order to get away from Corney, they asked for a room at the top of the house, which was given to them. Accordingly the press-bed was moved up there. The first night they went to retire to bed after the change, the doors of the press were flung open, and Corney's voice said, "Ha! ha! you devils, I am here before you! I am not confined to any particular part of this house."
Corney was continually tampering with the doors, and straining locks and keys, He only manifested himself in material form to two persons; to —, who died with the fright, and to Mr. A— (Mrs. C.’s father) when he was about seven years old. The latter described him to his mother as a naked man, with a curl on his forehead, and a skin like a clothes-horse (!).
One day a servant was preparing fish for dinner. She laid it on the kitchen table while she went elsewhere for something she wanted. When she returned the fish had disappeared. She thereupon began to cry, fearing she would be accused of making away with it. The next thing she heard was the voice of Corney from the coal-cellar saying, "There, you blubbering fool, is your fish for you!" and, suiting the action to the word, the fish was thrown out on the kitchen floor.
Relatives from the country used to bring presents of vegetables, and these were often hung up by Corney like Christmas decorations round the kitchen. There was one particular press in the kitchen he would not allow anything into. He would throw it out again. A crock with meat in pickle was put into it, and a fish placed on the cover of the crock. He threw the fish out.
Silver teaspoons were missing, and no account of them could be got until Mrs. A— asked Corney to confess if he had done anything with them. He said, "They are under the ticking in the servants’ bed." He had, so he said, a daughter in — Street, and sometimes announced that he was going to see her, and would not be here to-night.
On one occasion he announced that he was going to have "company" that evening, and if they wanted any water out of the soft-water tank, to take it before going to bed, as he and his friends would be using it. Subsequently that night five or six distinct voices were heard, and next morning the water in the tank was as black as ink, and not alone that, but the bread and butter in the pantry were streaked with the marks of sooty fingers.
A clergyman in the locality, having heard of the doings of Corney, called to investigate the matter. He was advised by Mrs. A— to keep quiet, and not to reveal his identity, as being the best chance of hearing Corney speak. He waited a long time, and as the capricious Corney remained silent, he left at length. The servants asked, "Corney, why did you not speak?" and he replied, "I could not speak while that good man was in the house." The servants sometimes used to ask him where he was. He would reply, "The Great God would not permit me to tell you. I was a bad man, and I died the death." He named the room in the house in which he died.
Corney constantly joined in any conversation carried on by the people of the house. One could never tell when a voice from the coal-cellar would erupt into the dialogue. He had his likes and dislikes: he appeared to dislike anyone that was not afraid of him, and would not talk to them. Mrs. C.’s mother, however, used to get good of him by coaxing. An uncle, having failed to get him to speak one night, took the kitchen poker, and hammered at the door of the coal-cellar, (saying, "I'll make you speak"; but Corney wouldn't. Next morning the poker was found broken in two. This uncle used to wear spectacles, and Corney used to call him derisively, "Four-eyes." An uncle named Richard came to sleep one night, and complained in the morning that the clothes were pulled off him. Corney told the servants in great glee, "I slept on Master Richard's feet all night."
Finally Mr. A— made several attempts to dispose of his lease, but with no success, for when intending purchasers were being shown over the house and arrived at Corney's domain, the spirit would begin to speak and the would-be purchaser would fly. They asked him if they changed house would he trouble them. He replied, "No! but if they throw down this house, I will trouble the stones."
At last Mrs. A— appealed to him to keep quiet, and not to injure people who had never injured him. He promised that he would do so, and then said, "Mrs. A—, you will be all right now, for I see a lady in black coming up the street to this house, and she will buy it." Within half an hour a widow called and purchased the house. Possibly Corney is still there, for our informant looked up the Directory as he was writing, and found the house marked "Vacant."
Source: True Irish Ghost Stories, by St. John D. Seymour and Harry L. Neligan, 
Source: True Irish Ghost Stories, by St. John D. Seymour and Harry L. Neligan,