In the nightly programme of performances at Sanger’s Circus, in the Agricultural-hall, is set down ‘The renowned Professor Palmer, as the Fly Man, performing marvellous feats of walking a glass ceiling.’ The professor has invariably walked the ceiling after fly-fashion successfully, but on Monday night he met with an accident which for the moment appalled the audience. The glass ceiling is composed of a piece of plate glass about 50ft. long by 20ft. wide, enclosed in a wooden framework. It is fixed at a distance of about 80ft. or 90ft. from the ground, and some 30ft. below it a net is spread to receive the professor in case of accident. On Monday evening the professor had taken his place on the ceiling, his feet being bound up in what appeared to be india-rubber, and commenced to walk, head downwards, on the glass, leaving on the latter as he lifted each foot a mark as if some glutinous substance had been applied to it. The utmost silence prevailed in the hall as he continued his perilous walk along the narrow glass, and all went well with him until within a couple of feet of the end of his journey, when by mistake he placed a portion of his foot upon the wooden frame instead of on the glass. His body immediately trembled violently, as if suction was the power which held him to the glass, and he struggled hard to keep up the weight of his body, which was now suspended from the glass by only one foot. His face, which up to this moment was very red, became pale, and in an instant the audience was shocked at seeing him fall head foremost towards the ground. The women turned their heads, and were afraid to look again at the spot, until a cheer reassured them. Palmer fell just on the border of the netting, which might well be of greater width. He came upon the back of his head, and having coiled his body into the shape of a ball, wriggled himself out of the net, and reached the ground by means of a rope ladder. Several gentlemen rushed from the front and second seats into the arena and shook hands with the professor, who then retired. He was called out again, and warmly applauded when he appeared in the circus, but he did not finish the performance.
– Times, Jan. 31, 1868