Some hear choral singing while others claim it's the sound of pipe organs or the whistling of the wind. But to Tibetan monks, the sound streaming through the Deadman Valley near Kamloops is proof the area is the centre of the universe.

The claim was made in 1984 after a Tibetan monk arrived at the Vidette Lake Gold Mine fishing lodge, located on the Hudson's Bay fur-trading trail between Kamloops and 100 Mile House.

Now, more than two decades later, that claim is heralded by Tourism Kamloops as part of a marketing campaign to promote a day trip out of the city to the scenic resort west of Savona.

"I'm not saying I believe it. I'm not saying go up there to be healed or throw their crutches away or anything," said Howard Grieve, marketing manager of Tourism Kamloops. "It's just an interesting day trip. It's a beautiful site. You're on top of a grassy knoll looking down on the resort."

The 17-hectare resort, which includes a small homestead and six cabins, sits in the midst of a valley at the tip of Vidette Lake, at the centre of three valleys, known by Skeetchestn nation people as "the place full of life."

Former owner Lew Woolman, who sold the property in 1994, remembers being holed up in his cabin on a wintry November night when his dog started barking.

When he went outside to see what was going on, he found a monk who had apparently been sent there from San Francisco at the behest of his Buddhist master, Tartangh Tulku.

Tulku was on a retreat this week and could not be reached to confirm he was involved in sending the monk.

"I'm not a Buddhist. I'm a pretty rational guy and here's this guy standing there in a long white robe," Woolman said Friday. "His opening sentence was, 'This is the centre of the universe.'

"I do believe them. This is a beautiful place, very spectacular; it lends itself to meditation and contemplation."

Woolman said he was approached three times over the next two decades by groups of monks who came to test the land to ensure it was the centre of the universe.

Monks believe the centre of the universe is an area where power lines intersect. Characteristics of the special area include the land being shaped like the prow of a ship and sloping to the south and the sound of singing.

Woolman said he twice heard the choir, which he likened to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, but he didn't tell anyone for a long time because "people look at me like 'What are you smoking?'"

Monks continued to drop in over the years and sometime around 1992, Woolman said, a group of monks asked him to give them the property. He disputed local newspaper reports that he had been offered an "exorbitant sum" for the property.

"They wanted me to give the place to them, but I'm not a wealthy man so I couldn't do this," Woolman, 60, said.

Kamloops resident Fred Bosman, who wrote an article about the monks' visit in his Kamloops tourism magazine, said he was told by a local reporter that the group had offered $2 million for the land.

He noted monks consider they have found a centre of the universe where they can "find peace of mind."

Monks at the Birken Forestry Monastery in Kamloops were on a retreat and could not be reached Friday.

Chief Ron Ignace, of the 460-member Skeetchestn Nation in Deadman Valley, said the area has always been a spiritual place.

A cave had been located beneath the nearby Deadman Falls, he said, where First Nations people had drawn paintings of their dreams and visions.

"We always knew Skeetchestn is known as the centre of the universe," he said. "It's a powerful area for us; the area has a presence."

Ignace said although he has heard of the monks' visit and seen vehicles going by, he hasn't been approached by a monk about the land's powerful significance.

"They haven't talked to us. I wish they would stop by and pay us a visit," he said.

Ray Stad, who has owned the fishing resort for the past seven years, doesn't deny that it is a special place. A few individuals have stopped by since 2000, he said, but he hasn't received any large groups.

But although he, too, has heard the singing in the wind, he said he believes it sounds more like a pipe organ and isn't anything out of the ordinary.

"There's definitely something to it, a magnetic energy or something like that," he said. "I have a hard time grasping that it's the centre of the universe.

"It's the wind as far as I'm concerned. But maybe in deep meditation you might hear something different."