By Matthew Sockol
MILLSTONE – Residents and guests will have an opportunity to take part in a paranormal experience when L’Aura Hladik Hoffman, a paranormal investigator and the founder and director of the New Jersey Ghost Hunters Society, visits Millstone Township.
At 7 p.m. April 21, the Friends of Millstone Township Historic Registered Properties will present a Wine and Spirits event at the Thomas Baird Homestead, 24 Baird Road. Hoffman will offer a multimedia presentation about ghost hunting in New Jersey and New York, according to organizers of the event.
Attendees are invited to bring their own wine. Food will be provided. Tickets are $40 and may be purchased online at www.mtfriendsofhistory.org or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Seating is limited.
This year’s event will be the third Wine and Spirits program to take place at the Baird Homestead and the first to feature Hoffman. Author and historian Gordon Thomas Ward, who wrote about the paranormal world in his book “Ghosts of Central Jersey: Historic Haunts of the Somerset Hills,” appeared at the previous events.
The event is a fundraiser that will help the Friends maintain the Baird Homestead. Randie Rubenstein, the co-chair of the Friends’ fundraising committee, sees the event as an opportunity for attendees to explore the historic Baird home and to see the efforts that are being made to restore it.
“This event will bring a spotlight to the house, what we are trying to do here and how it is going to benefit the community,” Rubenstein said. “It will give people a chance to see what life was like in Millstone in the 1830s.”
She said the Friends, who are responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the homestead, strive to make the site into a cultural and historical resource for Millstone.
Thomas Baird, the son of Revolutionary War veteran David Baird, built the house on the homestead around 1830. Baird and his family grew wheat, rye, and corn on the property. They were among the first families in Millstone to plant extensive orchards. The Baird family eventually grew fruit trees and large-scale ornamental trees, which were shipped by train to Maryland and Delaware.
Baird was a founder and the first vice president of the Monmouth County Agricultural Society, which was formed in 1853. He was elected as a county freeholder.
“The Baird family was an integral part of life in Millstone,” Rubenstein said.