Wednesday, June 25, 2008


What is it about Niagara Falls? Why do they attract not only millions of tourists [understandable], but those who would challenge the water's power [inexplicable]? The history of Niagara Falls daredevils [the subject of this blog] shows very clearly that no one who has ever challenged the waters has received more than the briefest moment of fame, and next to nothing in the way of fortune. More than one died a pauper, and forgotten. And yet...

...and yet, they still come. They come in much smaller numbers than they did even as recently as the 1980's, but still they come.

For those of you who've never been to Niagara Falls, and even those who have, please watch the video at the top of the right-hand column. It gives you at least a small sense of what the millions who come each year experience. What it cannot give, though, may be the biggest drawing card the Falls have: the roaring, earth-shaking visceral power of tons of water, transported from halfway across North America to this spot.

Watching the water churn, and slide, and rocket over the edge of the Falls at Prospect Point, you'd think nothing could survive such a trip. Yet several have. Two of them survived without a barrel, or other protective gear [save, in the case of one of them, a simple boater's life belt]. It can be done. And yet, common sense reminds us that your odds are better in one of the casinos that have sprung up in the two cities, one in Canada, one in the United States, that share the name Niagara Falls.
There is one other group that comes to Niagara - those who have chosen to end their lives in the roiling waters.On average, 15 people succeed in this goal each year.What brings them to this place, we do not know. Their stories will not be told here. But to them, as well as those who expected to survive their encounter with the river, this site is dedicated.
-Mike Riley

1 comment:

Char said...

Hi Mike, Cool Blog. Thanks for your posts on Blondin and Sam Patch, good research stuff for a libretto I'm writing for a musical about Annie Edson Taylor. Look forward to your adding her to your page.