The government has secretly known about and studied extraterrestrials and their spacecraft since the 1940s, according to Dr. Steven Greer, who heads an organization pushing for the public disclosure of the government’s relationship with aliens from outer space.

Tonight, Greer will speak about his findings, which he believes show that extraterrestrial life exists, from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Eugene Hilton Conference Center. The cost is $5 at the door.

Greer, who founded The Disclosure Project, has more than just theory, however, having compiled the testimony of more than 400 government officials. According to the Web site run by Greer’s organization — — he has concluded that his research “establishes beyond any doubt the reality of extraterrestrial life forms, UFOs or extraterrestrial vehicles, and advanced energy and propulsion technologies resulting from the study of these vehicles.”

Dr. Ted Loder, a professor of earth sciences at the University of New Hampshire who has been involved in the project for five years, called the research “absolutely first-rate.”

Asserting that the U.S. government has withheld information about extraterrestrials, Loder said he hoped that students will attend tonight’s event.

“The student generation is the next generation, if you will,” Loder said. “For the past 50 years, its been kept under wraps. They might as well start knowing about it now.”

The organization hopes that if it brings enough attention to the subject, Congress will address the government’s knowledge of extraterrestrial life in open hearings.

The Disclosure Project, a non-profit research group founded in 1993, believes that government agencies aware of extraterrestrial life are operating outside of congressional view and that former U.S. presidents have purposely been deceived and denied access. The Disclosure Project believes “the definitive solution to the world’s energy, pollution and poverty problems exists within compartmentalized projects that need planned disclosure and relevant legislation.”

Through his interviews with government officials, Greer has compiled more than 120 hours of testimony, which has been whittled down to 18 hours. Notable testimony comes from Brigadier General Stephen Lovekin of the Army National Guard Reserves and astronaut Gordon Cooper.

Greer, a former emergency room physician, spoke in Portland on Wednesday night and will be in Ashland on Friday.

Reed Murray, a retired natural food businessman who works for The Disclosure Project, said Greer “recognizes that the world is headed for a train wreck, and he thinks he can do something to stop it.”

Murray, 52, said the notion of extraterrestrial life first came to him about 30 years ago.

“It’s not that I believe in UFOs. It’s a reality to me,” Murray said. “Human beings are herd animals, and authorities are trying to make people believe the unreal.

“When the truth is revealed, it will completely change the way the world works.”

Robin Bernardi, owner of a small local publishing company, said she’s been working to spread the awareness of the event.

“If there’s nothing out there, then let’s talk about it,” Bernardi said. “It would be arrogant to think we’re alone.”

E-mail reporter Brad Schmidt