LITERARY LOCATION: Denman Place Inn, corner of Denman & Comox [later called Coast Plaza hotel and suites], near English Bay, Vancouver

A charlatan who gained international success as the author of esoteric bafflegab, T. Lobsang Rampa launched one of the greatest literary hoaxes of the 20th century with the publication of The Third Eye in 1956. The first-person narrator is a Tibetan physician with the psychic ability to read human auras via a third eye sited vertically in his forehead. Rather than present The Third Eye as fiction, Rampa stuck to his Tibetan lama identity and laughed all the way to the bank. He once wrote about his travels by flying saucer from Tibet to a paradise on Venus, but he never mentioned his two-year stay in Vancouver.

In the early 1970s, T. Lobsang Rampa (not his real name) and his entourage took refuge atop the 35-storey Denman Inn at English Bay where he led a hermit-like existence, making occasional wheelchair forays to Denman Place Mall. He usually wrote in bed, closely monitored by his Siamese cats. News of Rampa's secretive Vancouver residence only came to light with the publication of his secretary Sheelagh Rouse's memoirs, Twenty-Five Years with T. Lobsang Rampa (Lulu Books, 2005).