Haunted Bed & Breakfast
Private Tour

Story and Photos by Mary Murkin

Question: what do a Bugatti, a haunted bed-and-breakfast and eight extremely unique individuals have in common?

Answer: One adventure-filled evening in Montgomery County, North Carolina!

This outing was months in the planning stages. We set our sights on the Saturday evening of June 1, 2019, to make our way out to the Star Bed and Breakfast in the heart of Star, North Carolina. I tend to refer to many of my outings with this gang as adventures. It sounds so much more daring and exciting. For the most part we are legends in our own minds–and this particular adventure was no exception.

Our convoy arrived at the Star Bed and Breakfast at approximately 6 PM. It was a mild, clear, blue-sky evening. As we pulled into the gravel parking lot, all of our eyes locked onto the long, gleaming white, vintage Bugatti – – an Italian two-seater sports car. Even if you are not a car enthusiast, just seeing this automobile would make your heart skip a beat.

Once we were able to pry our eyes off of the dazzling little car, our gaze then turned to the two-story, light blue, fairytale like Victorian bed-and-breakfast that was looming high over our heads. A collective gasp went up as we each tried to find just the right exclamation to say out loud about this 6,000 square-foot treasure. Just looking at this extraordinarily detailed Victorian hotel built in 1896 made us feel like we were in another time.

Our plan was to walk around the outside of the bed and breakfast and take photos of it and of ourselves near it. We also wanted to see the meditation garden with it’s 12+ foot high multilevel water fountain. To get to the meditation garden, we had to walk around the back of the property and down a little path. Once we made it to this destination, we felt completely at peace and secluded from the rest of the world. This spellbound moment hung in time so effortlessly until we were all startled by the soundless appearance of a very kind older man who gently whispered “Hello” to us.

Ahhhhhh!!!! We nearly jumped out of our skins. Our surprise visitor introduced himself as Richard, the caretaker of the hotel and property. We begged forgiveness for trespassing and explained that we were from Asheboro and wanted to just see the outside of the bed-and-breakfast and the meditation garden. One of the members of my gang began talking with him and as things would have it, she happened to be very good friends with one of his best friends. He very kindly asked us if we would like to come up to the hotel for a private tour. Oh my gosh! This was more than we had hoped for and appreciatively acccepted his invitation.

We tromped our way out of the garden, up the path and then onto the porch by a side door to go into the bed and breakfast. As soon as all eight of us were inside the entryway and that big door shut behind us, we instantly felt like we were inside a time capsule from the late 1800s. This was such a sensory overload. Between the dazzling colors of the walls, the beauty of the foreign rugs, the sparkling elegance of the large, breathtaking chandeliers, the ornate wooden staircase and all of the decor throughout each room, the feeling of being suspended in another time long ago was deepened with each new sight.

Honestly, it was all we could do to not gawp at each new thing we laid eyes on. I’m talking about things like the ornate wooden staircase – – built by the Cooper brothers, who are the same fellows who built the grand staircase aboard the ill-fated Titanic–to the exquisite, ornate tall wooden organ that looked like it came straight out of “The Ghost and Mr. Chicken” movie, a seven foot tall vase, and a spectacularly colorful and ornate full-sized Egyptian sarcophagus! Do you see what I mean? My gosh – – any one of these things would have been well worth the drive out there, but to see this enormous beautiful old hotel filled with these things in every single room was practically paralyzing, and not just as a figure of speech. As we would go into each next room, we would just stop dead in our tracks to take in all the wonders of that room.

The star hotel was built in 1896. Its original owners were Angus and Deborah Leach. The hotel is currently owned by Gary Spivey, a professional psychic. He purchased the bed and breakfast in 2004. He hired his sister, Joyce, as his bed and breakfast manager and spent the next four years giving the whole place an extensive long-distance makeover from California. Joyce and her husband, Richard, continued on as the caretakers of the hotel.

It is purported that Deborah Leach haunts the bed and breakfast, as she passed away in the hotel on October 30, 1901 at the age of 51 – – just five years after starting to run the hotel. We learned of stories about how Joyce had seen the ghost of Deborah Leach, but Richard has not. He indicated that was fine with him.

A few stories emerged about some various unaccounted-for sounds and sights that have been heard and seen at the bed-and-breakfast. These things include, but are not limited to: A baby crying, doorknobs turning, a straw broom whisking, a woman humming and also lights flickering on and off. While we were there on our private tour, we did not experience anything overtly paranormal. We all concurred though, that 123 years worth of good energy absolutely radiated throughout the hotel and all over the grounds and meditation garden.

This fearless group returned on November 23, 2019 for an overnight visit. What happened there that night is clearly material for a whole separate story. We had no idea of what adventures would befall us there on that chilly autumn evening in the heart of Montgomery County!

Wealth of Our Community

Robert Truman (Bob) Stout

by WT Cox

Bob Stout was a special person by every standard and he impacted everyone who knew him. Bob lived on family property in Ramseur where his father Penn operated Stout & Raines Plumbing for many years, and Bob followed in his footsteps. I grew up hearing about the exploits of Bob from his younger days from my Dad, those of fast cars, and a rambunctious lifestyle. But something happened to Bob later in life. Bob trusted Christ as his Savior and became a changed person. His testimony has been an inspiration to countless people who had the privilege of knowing him. Bob had a unique outlook on life. One that recognized the good quality that everyone possesses. He certainly had a way with words and many people, including myself, sought his advice about life or spiritual matters. Bob was a great teacher and someone who you just knew spoke from the heart. Bob spent many morning hours sitting in “his” chair at our hardware store telling stories and talking with locals who stopped in to chat. I used to love listening to Bob and my Dad reminisce about the days of their youth going up here in Ramseur. That space seems empty now when I remember the stories and laughter that emitted from “Bob’s corner” of our store.  He was a friend, a mentor, and more importantly someone who knew from experience how a Christ could change a person. Everyone loved Bob. It did not matter a person’s race, age or social status… all were the same in Bob’s eyes. Bob Stout is one of the reasons we have a wealthy community. The following article was submitted by his daughter Johanna:

On the morning of October 21, 2019, Kent Burgess and I were sitting in the front yard by the fire. My father, Bob Stout, had died earlier that morning and Kent and I were both shattered. We sat there, not saying much, just looking into the fire and I can’t remember which one of us said it but the phrase “the greatest legacy a person can leave behind is to be missed” was spoken. I have thought of this phrase just about every day since Bob died, cause, Lord knows, he is missed! Whenever a photo of Bob pops up on my or Kent’s or Cousin Pam’s Facebook memories and we share it, just about every comment is about how Bob is missed and how there will never be another one quite like him anymore. Now I know I’m prejudiced because he was my father, but I truly believe he was the greatest man that I have ever met and will probably ever meet. Over the years have thought about why I felt this way and I have come up with a few theories. First of all, he had the ability to draw people to him. This is no exaggeration, but there were some days that I would pull into the driveway and ended up parking in the field beside the house simply because there was nowhere else to park. The driveway was full of cars and the yard was full of folks sitting outside, talking, insulting one another and in general just sitting a spell and visiting. One day my daughter, Anna, looked outside at the yard full of people and said, “I hope I’m as popular as my 87 year old grandfather one day.” I told her, “Don’t count on it, I’ve hoped for the same thing my entire life and it hasn’t happened yet.” Bob was popular but it was a popularity based on his wit, always quick but never malicious, his sense of honor, for he was of the generation where his word was as good as a legal contract and his wisdom, which came from the number of years he had lived (all in Ramseur except for three years spent in Maine and Bermuda when he was in the Coast Guard-as he would say, the US was never invaded under his watch) and wisdom that came from his daily reading and study of the Bible. His favorite biblical passage was John 14:1-3 and daily he lived this passage. His heart was not troubled and he trusted in the Lord and did not worry. Bob always said that he was not worried about dying, he knew where he was going, and while I accept that he is in glory, I still miss him and probably will til the day I die. It’s hard to talk or write about Bob without tearing up, but at the same time I remember him with laughter and all the funny stories that he told and that were told on him. Just like Truvy said in Steel Magnolias, “Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion.” 

Miss you and love you Daddy