While many people have gone over Niagara Falls in a barrel, Kirk Jones from Canton, Michigan, was the only one to survive the trip over one of the Seven Wonders of the World in only the clothes he was wearing on his back. There was a problem, however: Kirk and his friends had been drinking before his adventure, so nobody was able to use the camcorder the group had to film his daredevil stunt. Jones was not alone. Through the years, people have gone over Niagara Falls some successfully, some unsuccessfully, in barrels, balls, and other ways, and their antics are all chronicled in the Daredevil Museum of Niagara Falls, 303 Rainbow Boulevard, Niagara Falls, New York. Admission is free, although donations are accepted.
When you are in Niagara Falls to see the great wonder, make certain you also visit the Daredevil Museum. You will not only see the pictures of those who risked their lives to go over the falls. You will even be able to step into their barrels. You will be able to step into the floatation devices used by the daredevils. You see the jet ski used by Robert Overcracker, who was unsuccessful in using the ski to go over the falls. He plunged to his death.
The museum in Niagara Falls is actually in a souvenir shop, but many who have seen it say it is worthwhile to see. On a wall, you will see the stories and photos of the men and women who attempted to go over Niagara Falls.
A woman, Annie Taylor, was the first person to successfully go over Niagara Falls in a barrel on October 24, 1901. She used a wooden barrel, and bicycle pump was used to compress the air pressure. Annie Taylor expected fame and fortune for completing her stunt, but she died in poverty instead.
On July 25, 1911, Bobby Leach used a steel barrel to go over the falls. Although he was successful, he broke his jaw and both kneecaps during his stunt. While he may have been considered a successful daredevil for going over Niagara Falls, years later, when touring New Zealand, he slipped on orange peel. He then died of complications caused by gangrene!
On July 4, 1928, “Smiling Jean” Lussier went over Niagara Falls in a large rubber ball. A number of people have not survived the trip over the falls, but Lussier did.
On July 5, 1930, Greek waiter George L. Statakis was killed after being suffocated when his barrel was trapped behind the falls for more than 18 hours.
On July 3, 1984, Karel Soucek was the first Canadian to successfully go over Niagara Falls. Unfortunately, he was killed later that year when he recreated his stunt in the Houston Astrodome.
On June 18, 1995, Steve Trotter and Lori Martin were the first male and female to successfully go over Niagara Falls together.
Citations: Daredevils of Niagara Falls, no author listed, Niagarafallslive.com
Daredevil Museum in Niagara Falls, NY, no author listed, Vacationsmadeeasy.com
Daredevil Museum of Niagara Falls, no author listed, Tripadvisor.com