The Planks

Here in Swindon, Wiltshire, there were auction rooms half of which were in an old stable block once used by the Goddard family. It was called "The Planks" because there used to be planks laid down in the winter to prevent the staff's uniforms from getting muddy when they went down to the stables to order carriages. Their mansion [now demolished] was about a hundred yards from this old building, which still stands today. The parkland, which the mansion was standing on, now belongs to the municipal council, and folk walk their dogs there...

The people involved in this story are still living, and I still have contact with them...

A man called Dave and his workmate, used to deliver furniture and effects to the auction rooms, sometimes late at night if they had a long drive, so Dave had a key to the alarm system and the gates, and he would drive into the yard, and leave the unloading till the next day. One night, I don't know what time of year, he drove the van into the yard as usual, only to hear very loud crashing and ruckus coming from the old part of the building, where the antiques were stored prior to auction. He was a bit shocked, as no alarms were going off, and the padlock was still on the doors. He got a tire lever from the cab of the van and unpadlocked the door. He and his workmate threw open the doors expecting to find vandals inside, but there was nothing, no furniture was upset, no mess no noise, nothing.......

Feeling a bit spooked, they re-locked the doors, only to hear the loud crashing and banging going on again, so Dave called the police thinking they had not seen the perpetrators that time and wanting a bit of support. So five policemen turned up while the terrible racket was still going on. The doors were unlocked again, same thing, no noise, no upset, nothing!. The place was thoroughly searched, then one of the policemen said he'd seen a face at the window of one of the offices above the old stables. The upper part of the building is long with a door at both ends, one of which cant be used as the staircase has crumbled away, but another door had been made in the middle, so both doors were unlocked, and policemen searched the offices, nothing...

By this time everyone was very spooked, including the policemen, they could find no reason for the noise, so they advised Dave to lock up securely again, as it was clear no-one was there, which he did with the police watching. As soon as the doors were locked again the racket started up again, both Dave and the police decided discretion was the better part of valor and legged it!

This is a true story, I used to work at The Planks on auction days and Dave worked there as well, he told me the story first hand, and his work mate backed up his story. These men would not tell a story that made them look like idiots unless it was true! I know they didn't tell many people, only ones they thought wouldn't laugh!

I thought about looking into the history of The Planks, and the Goddard mansion, but never got round to it. Its a wierd place, full of atmosphere, and the parkland around it isn't a nice place to be at night....maybe one day I'll look into it and find out why....

Submitted by Jayne davis, Wiltshire, UK