Source: Excerpt transcribed from Searching for UFOs which aired on The Learning Channel.
Milwaukee Wisconsin, a thousand miles away. It's the end of a shift at the Harley Davidson
motorcycle factory. For most of these people, their work is done until tomorrow. For one of
them, his work is just beginning.
Tim Hildebrandt runs a precision gear grinding machine here at Harley Davidson. He used to live
in the biker's world.
Tim: "Before I was into UFO's I guess I was just a motorcycle person, working for Harley Davidson. I've always enjoyed riding Harley Davidsons. I was a motorcycle person."
Tim still rides the bike, still wears the clothes, but a few years ago the road he was following took a very different turn.
Tim: "In 1989 on September 10th was the first time I ever saw one. It was as I was leaving work about 7:05. I saw it off to the west and it was a very, very prominent cigar shaped silver object. That was the first sighting I ever had. The following year is when I started taking pictures."
If the ultimate goal of the UFO investigator is to uncover evidence, Tim Hildebrandt believes no evidence could be more compelling than a photograph. A photograph makes one person's perception tangible for the whole world to see. For the last six years, Tim has spent every free moment and every last dollar investigating UFOs through photography.
Tim: "Over the past five years, total investment, I would imagine anywhere between 25 and 30 thousand dollars would be a good guess. I mean, you're talking the cost of all the film and all the developing."
Tim's goal is to gather hard evidence to document the sightings he and others have experienced. He's grown particularly interested in a small town a few hours away called Dundee where UFO sightings and other strangeness have become almost commonplace.
Tim: "The people at Dundee, a lot of them have seen UFOs. Some of them have seen them close. There have been a lot of things happening out there. There's been some very unusual circles out there. People have heard things. I'm out there recording it, as much as I can.
Tim's destination is a bar up in Dundee called Benson's Hideaway. It's a gathering place for anyone who's seen something in the sky they can't explain.
Anonymous bar patron: "He told me. I'm really into this stuff. I believe in UFOs."
You couldn't throw a stone in this place without hitting a UFO believer.
Anonymous bar patron: "I know there's other life forms out there than us, so."
Bill Benson: "There's a lot of people in the area that have sighted something, seen something, felt something, and had no place to tell about it."
So they gather here at Benson's to share their UFO experiences. Tim's contribution is evidence. Photographs of his own sightings. Many of them taken from the summit of Dundee Mountain, only a few miles away.
Anonymous bar patron: "And he said all of a sudden he heard what sounded like a jet fly over by. 10 seconds later it went flying back."
Tim: "Hi Bill"
Bill Benson: "Hi Tim"
In this place, Tim's photographs are seen as an important body of work. Many of these people wish they had photographs that could prove their own sightings were real. Tim's pictures have captured what he believes is a significant clue in the UFO mystery - triangles.
Tim: "What's unique about that triangle shape is that it seems to be occurring in more photographs that I've taken. In this particular photograph here there's a triangle outline at the lower right of this light that is quite obviously there. You can see that it has three sides."
Other people around the country have reported triangular sightings, but they are unusual.
The real excitement this weekend is about something that happened one night earlier in the month in a marshy area of the lake. Strange lights, loud noises, and in the morning an ominous sight: Hundreds of square feet of crushed and flattened reeds.
Anonymous bar patron: "It looked like something had landed actually."
Now, everyone's wondering, did something from "out there" touch down here in Dundee?
Anonymous bar patron: "In my opinion, it didn't land long enough to have burned."
Another bar patron, (referring to a photo she's holding of someone standing in the middle of the flattened reeds on Long Lake): "He walked to the edge and he said, 'This will be the real test.' And he walked off and he sunk down to about the middle of his knee. And it was just fascinating, that's when I was made a believer. I was just like: oh my god, he's walking on water."
"And it came real loud and close and zoom, it was far away. And then all of a sudden, zoom, it jetted over the marsh"
If one person sees something in the sky, they could be mistaken. But in this case there were scores of witnesses all over town. Unfortunately, Tim wasn't there that night to photograph the lights. The only physical evidence that remains is the mysterious imprint in the reeds; left by something.
Anonymous person outside at a picnic table: "Our son Andy had an interest based on a couple of experiences that he talked about, and I noticed this in a flyer."
Not everyone here is local. On the edge of the action there's a family that traveled down from Green Bay. They look a little out of place in this crowd, but one of them feels right at home.
Andy Gordon: "I was seeing UFOs"
There's something wrong with this picture of a perfect American family. Little Andy's been seeing things. Mom is sympathetic, sis is a bit skeptical, and dad's downright confused.
Andy: "It was a triangle, it had three lights, they were round, and it kind of like swerved, and it shot down the sky until it disappeared."
Triangular. The same unusual shapes that Tim has photographed. The moment Andy saw Tim's photos, he knew the trip from Green Bay was well worth it.
The big event that caps the day is a hike up Dundee Mountain with Tim in the lead. Most of these people at least once have seen or heard something in the sky that they couldn't explain. Tonight they'll have a chance to see how one investigator goes about gathering evidence.
Tim: "Here we are. We're gonna use the 400 hopefully. Give us a little more telephoto range. The tripod is your best friend, because when you're making exposures in low light you've gotta keep the camera dead steady, and if you don't, you're not gonna get a sharp picture. And you've gotta always keep them ready because you don't know when it's gonna happen. You don't even know if it's gonna happen. You might come up here 5 or 6 times and nothing will happen. You've gotta be ready all the time."
When a person has a UFO sighting, they have to make a choice. They can ignore what they've seen, as if it never happened, or they can accept it. But with something as strange as a UFO, human nature makes it hard to believe even our own eyes without physical evidence.
William James said "Our science is but a drop, our ignorance a sea." Faced with questions that have no answers, the UFO investigator is left to wonder and to speculate. Part scientist, part dreamer, part detective. These citizens seek knowledge wherever they can find it. Tim Hildebrandt believes the UFO mystery goes back to ancient times.
Tim: "By reading all these different books, The Bible, many, many old books, it's obvious that we've had visitors all along. And the picture was that we have been visited throughout history, and we still are being visited now."
Whether UFOs are an ancient presence or a modern phenomenon is only one question. Even if we knew that answer, we still would wonder: what are they, and why do people keep seeing them?