Queen of the Falls
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The facts about the Niagara Falls are well known. “The water drops from a height that is as tall as a seventeen-story building.” Fact of the matter is, you’d have to be nutty to even consider going over such falls. Yet that was the idea that appealed so much to Ms. Annie Edson Taylor. A former charm school teacher, Annie was sixty-two years old and in real need of money. In a flash it came to her: Go over the edge of Niagara Falls in a barrel and reap the rewards that come. Efficient, Annie commissioned the barrel she would travel in, and found folks willing to help her carry out the plan. When the time came, everything went without a hitch and best of all Annie lived to tell the tale. Unfortunately, fame and fortune were not in the cards. Folks weren’t interested in hearing an old woman talk about her death-defying adventure, and on more than one occasion she found her barrel stolen or folks taking credit for her own deed. Ten years later a reporter found her and asked for her story again. Annie confessed that she didn’t become rich like she wanted to, but as she said, “That’s what everyone wonders when they see Niagara . . . How close will their courage let them get to it? Well, sir, you can’t get any closer than I got.”
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“Fred Truesdale had told her the water at the very edge of the falls would be still for a moment. When she felt that, he warned, she must hold on for dear life and pray. Which was exactly what happened next. For a few seconds –one … two … three – Annie floated slowly and upright. She could hear the falls roaring, even through her thick oak barrel. “Oh Lord,” she whispered, and then she was gone.”
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