It begins with a solitary woodsman in the hills around the home of Pacific University. The woodsman enjoyed sneaking up on unwary hunters and blasting his oversized bugle in their faces. But one day while “The Phantom Bugler” was lying in wait for his next unsuspecting victim, a large cougar attacked him.
The cougar ripped the flesh from the Phantom Bugler’s hands and face. A life-and-death struggle pursued, and the Bugler fought back with the only weapon at his disposal, his famous brass instrument.
The bugle is one of the less versatile instruments in a band, but apparently its use as a weapon is underrated, because the ferocious beast succumbed to the blows to its head. The Phantom, drained of blood by the cougar’s slashing fangs and claws, collapsed on the trail. For two days he lay unconscious next to the slain cougar. Finally he regained consciousness and dragged himself back to his rugged cabin, where he eventually died.
The Phantom Bugler died, but according to legend a number of hunters have been found dead with their heads split open, most likely by a blow from a bugle. The legend says that while many people have heard the wail of the bugle, most have mistaken it for the wind whistling through the Douglas firs of the Tillamook Forest.
Only one man has survived an encounter with the Phantom Bugler, and he said that he was confronted by a large, ethereal man with a face slashed as if by a cougar who attacked him with what appeared to be a bugle …
All of this comes from Oregon’s Ghosts & Monsters by Mike Helm. I have no independent reports of any such sightings around Forest Grove. If you have such stories, please share them at ken (at) kenbilderback.com. That assumes that you survived your encounter, and didn’t hear the laconic strains of “Taps” as your last sense of earthly being …