The massive volume of swirling, gushing water at Niagara Falls will immediately captivate any onlooker’s attention.
It sure captured the imagination of Annie Taylor, a 63-year-old American schoolteacher and, of all things, an amateur daredevil stunter who became inspired to secure her notoriety by being the first person to ever go over the Falls. As if that wasn’t enough, she was to do it riding inside a wooden barrel.
Racing towards the cliffs at high speed, water exiting the Niagara River tumbles off the crestline, covering 10 metres in a second and creates a heavy mist towards the end of its’ downward trip into the gorge. Niagara Falls, a series of three waterfalls (Horseshoe, American and Bridal Veil) that sit between the border of New York, United States and Ontario, Canada, is approximately 50 meters in height, allowing the water just about five seconds to hit the bottom.
Imagine what it must have been like for Taylor when she went over for a 50 metre drop — inside a barrel padded only with a mattress, and her lucky heart-shaped pillow — in what must have felt like a heart stopping blink of an eye. It was on 24 October 1901, that Taylor survived her barrel ride practically unscathed, and lived another 20 years to tell her tale. Continue reading