The Corpus Ghost
Corpus is rumoured to have a College ghost, which appears in what today is the Parker Room on M staircase in Old Court. There were sufficient sightings for there to be a service of exorcism in this room just before the World War I and when the ghost was seen again in the 1930s, the Master of the time, Sir Will Spens, let it be known that anyone seeing the ghost would be sent down. There have been rather fewer apparitions since, although some fellows claim they have seen someone moving around in the room from the outside or heard someone running up and down a staircase near the old Master’s Lodge, despite this staircase having been sealed off for decades.
Who is the ghost? There are two stories which the fellows like to tell: “At the end of the 17th century (before the New Court was built) this was the Master’s Lodge and one of the undergraduate students who was fond of the Master’s daughter (the Master, of course, being the only member of college who had a daughter) used to have tea with her there while the Master was away. One day, while she thought her father to be in London, familiar steps were heard on the stairs and she hurriedly disposed of him by locking him in a cupboard. Being a perfect gentleman, as all Corpus undergraduates are, he didn’t like saying anything and when she came back the next morning he had asphyxiated, but his ghost remains in the room. Another theory is that this is the ghost of the somewhat heroic figure of Henry Butts, who was Master in the early 17th century, and who hanged himself in the Master’s Lodge; heroic because he was Vice-Chancellor during one of the plague years, so he had the unenviable task of running Cambridge during the plague.”
In any case it appears to be a perfectly friendly ghost and prospective applicants need not be concerned!