The first person to go over Niagara Fall in a barrel was actually a woman. Hoping to make money from the publicity, schoolteacher Annie Edson Taylor climbed into a pickle barrel on Oct. 24, 1901, and was set adrift north of Goat Island. Twenty minutes later she emerged downstream with only a gash on her forehead.
But “if it was with my dying breath,” she later said, “I would caution anyone against attempting the feat. … I would sooner walk up to the mouth of a cannon, knowing it was going to blow me to pieces than make another trip over the fall.”
There are some reports that she was accompanied by a black kitten. One says it emerged as a white kitten.