The First Barrel Ride Down Niagara Falls Happens In 1901

Annie Edson Taylor, first person to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel and survive (cat in photo is likely the same cat that went over the falls in a test run). (Library of Congress/WIkimedia Commons)

The rushing waters of Niagara Falls call out to daredevils across the world with a siren song first heard by Annie Edson Taylor, who strapped herself into a barrel and became the Victorian widow Evel Knievel in 1901. At least 16 people have gone over the falls since Taylor's trip, 11 of whom even survived.

Don't Go Chasing Waterfalls

Niagara Falls might be pretty, but it's also deadly. Every second, 600,000 gallons of water rush over Horseshoe Falls, the largest of Niagara's three waterfalls and safest for barrelers. All of that water will get you over the falls pretty quickly, so anyone taking the 170-foot plunge runs a major risk of concussion or breaking some bones when their ride hits the water, but that's actually not the worst-case scenario. It's entirely possible to get trapped in the falls and drown, like one man who couldn't be retrieved for 14 hours in 1930.