August 11, 2022

Annie Get Your Barrel


Having cruelly sent a cat over Niagara Falls in a barrel two days earlier (happily the cat survived, I say that and I don’t even like cats), in 1901 Annie Taylor became the first person to survive going over Niagara Falls in a barrel. She had been a dance instructor in Bay City, Michigan and a music teacher in Sault St. Marie (I always liked that name) but now here she was, a struggling school teacher (teachers are always poor) and she  hoped to get a boost financially from the stunt. Her house had burned down and she had lost some money with bad investments so things weren’t going too well. She was 63 years old, so she was no spring chicken. She emerged from the barrel virtually unscathed except for a bleeding gash on the head. She and the daredevil cat posed for pictures afterwards. She later said she’d rather walk in front of an exploding cannon, then go over the falls again. She made a few dollars talking about her experience. The barrel she went over in disappeared, was found in Chicago, then disappeared again permanently. Unfortunately, she made little money from the endeavor and died penniless in 1921 at the age of 82.