Halloween is just days away and so we’ve scoured our photographic archives to bring you some spooky-themed pics. But not just that, we’ve uncovered a story of a real life (sort of) exorcism that took place in Billericay!

It was a few days before October 31, 1970, when the Southend Standard newspaper reported how a “pretty Billericay girl” had sought advice from a practising witch in a bid to try to exercise a ghost she believed was haunting the garden of her home in Chapel Street, Billericay.

The 17-year-old girl told the newspaper how she intended to conduct her own exorcism on Halloween at exactly midnight.

Among the rituals, she was intending to carry out included building a pentacle over the haunted spot in her back yard.

She told the newspaper: “The ritual of exorcism is said to be very dangerous, I have been warned several times about it

“I have advice and absent help from a practising witch,

“I am not allowed to discuss anything he has told me or tell you what I am going to do. All I can say is that it involves prayers and other things.

“I chose Halloween because it’s better then. But it could be done on any Sunday night. I have to wait until midnight, then it will be Sunday.”

The teenager, who worked as a fashion model, was not pictured in the newspaper report but divulged some details to the reporter about the ghost that was haunting her.

She, and her mother, by described seeing the ghost of a child in the garden.

The ghostly entity seemed to come from a tree in the middle of their garden and was combined with the sound of a child’s eerie voice singing the hymn ‘All Things Bright and Beautiful.’

The family dog, a pet poodle, was also said to be aware of the entity, and refused to go into the garden at night.

It’s not clear what happened after the exorcism as there was no follow up story in the Standard but it was suggested the ‘haunted tree’ was eventually cut down.

Whether you believe in ghosts or not, a new report suggests Essex people certainly are open to the idea of the paranormal.

A report by the estate agents Sellhousefast.uk sought to uncover England’s most haunted regions. Essex comes fourth on the list for most reported hauntings. Yorkshire tops the list with the most ghost sightings while the Isle of Wight is said to be the least haunted region in the country.

Meanwhile, here a some vintage Halloween -themed images from archives to get you in the spirit of the season...