The first person, and cat, to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel


In 1901, Annie Edson Taylor, then 63, was the first person to make it over Niagara Falls in a barrel. She designed her own barrel, containing a harness and mattress, and sent her cat over the falls first as a test.

The cat survived so Taylor went for it. From Atlas Obscura:


The barrel seemed to bob harmlessly as it was pulled towards Horseshoe Falls, on the Canadian side of the raging rapids. Then the strong pull of the falls took hold of the barrel and accelerated it towards its fateful drop. The barrel was lost from view in the mists of the falls, falling over at some point. Within minutes, the barrel was spit back out, wholly intact, and began drifting further downstream at the bottom of the falls. The barrel finally came to rest against a rock in the river and Taylor's handlers rushed out to the barrel. After a bit of difficulty, they were able to remove Taylor, whose first words out of the barrel were, "I prayed every second I was in the barrel except for a few seconds after the fall when I went unconscious."