Annie Taylor with her barrel, and a cat that might be the one that also survived the trip over the Falls. X
On her sixty-third birthday, on the 24th of October, 1901, Annie Edson Taylor became the first person to survive a trip over Niagara Falls in a barrel.
Born in New York, after the death of her son and her husband Taylor worked as a dance and music teacher. However, fearing poverty and a life in the poorhouse, she decided to find fame by making the trip over the falls.
The barrel was custom-made for the event, and was first tested with a cat inside. The cat cut its head but lived, which convinced Taylor it was possible to survive the trip.
She found some resistance and lack of support due to people not wanting to be associated with a suicide jump.
However, the jump did go ahead, beginning on the American side of the falls. The current pulled the barrel across into Canadian territory.
Taylor survived the jump, with only a small gash on her head in the way of injuries.
While she made some money from the stunt, Taylor’s manager ran away both with the barrel and most of her earnings.