The Strange Incident Of The Aliens On The Courthouse

6 min readJul 8, 2020


CW: Mentions Of Police Brutality

Picture Of Jay Zee [Kenosha Evening News, March 6, 1950]

One night, a man walked into the Sheriffs’ office in Oregon, Illinois. He said that he had seen aliens dancing atop the city hall.

But the events leading up to this strange sighting, and the things that followed. Make this tale a shade stranger than your average extraterrestrial sighting.

On September 29th, 1952. Robert Cross, a hospital attendant at Warmolts clinic, left the theatre in Oregon and started to walk home. However, on the way, he saw a group of flying saucers landing on the theater roof.

Robert did what most people would do after witnessing such a strange sight, he called the police. The police told Robert to go to the Sheriffs’ office, which he did.

When Robert arrived at the office, he told his story to the night deputy. The night deputy, William Beaman, was very concerned about Cross’s story.

He was so concerned that he immediately called the Sherrif, James White. White quickly made his way to the office, keen to find out more about Cross’s report.

After talking with Cross, White decided to go with Cross to the theatre, hoping to confirm what the man had seen. However, as the pair made their way across town Cross pointed towards the Courthouse.

Cross told the Sherriff that he should, “look at them land on the courthouse roof.” However, when the Sherriff looked at the courthouse roof he saw nothing.

Sherriff White took Cross back to the police station and talked to him about what he had seen. During this conversation, an important fact was revealed.

Cross had been to the theatre to see a show by a hypnotist called Jay Zee. The police called the hypnotist and asked him to come to the station.

Once Jay Zee arrived, the truth came out. Jay Zee’s signature trick was convincing people they had seen aliens. Jay Zee had told Cross that he would see aliens until 10 am the next morning and that he would visit the police, the local newspaper, and the fire department to tell them all about these strange sightings.

According to Cross, Jay Zee said that these aliens would be “a little man, three feet high with a long nose, purple skin, and pink polka dots.”

With the case solved. Both the hypnotist and Cross were released.

White told the press that “There’ll be no more of that in Oregon”.

Freeport Journal Standard, Oct 4, 1952

But that was far from the end of it.

The next day, Cross alleged that White and Beaman had beaten him while he was in custody. Cross said that this beating occurred in front of a group of 20–25 teenagers as well as Jay Zee.

According to Cross, White told the teenagers “now you kids will know that we mean it when we tell you something,” during the beating.

Cross also said that a second beating had occurred after this first one. During this second beating, Sherrif White shouted something that Cross couldn’t make out.

To add credence to his story. Cross said that while he was walking home he encountered a patrolman and a man named C. Norbert Metz. Both the patrolman and Dr. Metz worked at Warmolts clinic alongside Cross.

Metz produced an accident log from the evening in question. The log said that Cross had returned to the clinic with a bleeding lower lip as well as scratches on the back of his neck.

Sherrif White insisted that the story was false and that Cross had injured himself when wandering around the town in a hypnotic stupor.

However, William Beaman said differently. Beaman said that he had slapped Cross when “he cussed and became unruly,” but insisted that was the only time anyone struck the man.

When told that Cross was considering trying to have the Sherrif impeached. Sherrif White admitted that Beaman had slapped Cross and said that he had told Beaman to “leave him alone,” after it had happened.

White said that his wife would corroborate this story and Beaman said that if necessary he would take a lie detector test to prove that he was telling the truth.

White also called the State Attorney and had a private conference with the clinic’s owner, Dr. Warmolts. However, neither the attorney nor Dr. Warmolts would divulge what was said during these meetings.

Freeport Journal Standard, Oct 4, 1952

The fallout quickly picked up speed.

Four days after the event, the Chief Deputy of Ogle County, Joseph Powell, resigned. He cited a “difference in policy,” as his reason for tending his resignation.

A month after the event, Sheriff White fired William Beaman. Beaman said that his firing was “political”. He said that White had told him that there was “nothing wrong with my work. He said it had been very satisfactory,” and suggested that he was only fired to take the pressure off White.

White denied this, saying that he had not fired Beaman. White said that “I thought he was not well enough to be working so hard,” adding that he planned to “get him back into the department in a different position.”

White also said that Beaman’s two other jobs meant that Beaman didn’t have the energy to do his police work.

Beaman denied all of this, saying that he had resigned from his position as the town clerk and, while he was still driving a school bus, he had asked for a shorter route. Beaman also said that White had not said anything about getting him another job in the department.

Dixon Evening Telegraph, Nov. 11, 1952

In the end, no legal action was brought against the Sheriff’s department.

It is not known if Cross couldn’t afford to pursue it or if he didn’t think he had a case. Beaman did not get his job back. White would remain as Sherrif until he resigned in 1954.

And what about Jay Zee? Despite threats, the police brought no charges against him. He would continue to perform around the US and he would continue to include fake UFO sightings as part of his act.

Some news articles mentioned that Jay Zee had taken an ethical pledge saying he would do nothing that would “cause embarrassment of his subjects or leave them at a future disadvantage”.

It is unknown if Jay Zee took this pledge due to the results in Oregon but it can’t be denied that such a pledge would have saved Cross a great deal of distress.

Wilmington News-Journal 14th Oct 1955

By the 1960s however, Jay Zee’s trail had gone cold. Much like the aliens, he conjured in people’s minds, he vanished into thin air.

But no trick could ever match the sheer weirdness of the events in Oregon.