Cheng Guan Lim, a Chinese engineering student at the University of Michigan, spent almost four years hiding inside Ann Arbor's First Methodist Church from 1955-1959.
In the news
- Education: Scholar's Tower, TIME, Sept. 7, 1959
Dread of impending shame weighed with crushing force on Cheng Guan Lim, Chinese engineering student at the University of Michigan. He was doing badly in physics and math, thought he was sure to flunk out. Soon there would be nothing for it but to leave school, quit his job as janitor at Ann Arbor's First Methodist Church, and take the humiliating news back to his schoolteacher father in Singapore. Finally, one day in October 1955, Cheng disappeared. His friends, including the Rev. Eugene Ransom, pastor of the church, called in police. They found no clues.
- The Strange Case of Cheng Lim, Ann Arbor Police Department History
In 1955, Lim did not apply for the fall term as he was distressed due to low grades, feeling he had failed the people that had brought him to Ann Arbor. In an attempt to fake his suicide, Lim walked down to the Huron River and threw his passport into it. Later that night he went to the First Methodist Church and climbed a ladder that led to an attic on the north side of the church. For the next four years, Lim lived in this cramped attic space. During the night he would sneak down to the kitchen for food and water.
- UPI Telephoto: First Methodist Church, Wystan Stevens collection.