Engineers Make a Chilling Discovery After Draining Niagara Falls

In the summer of 1969, people started to notice that something was off with the Niagara Falls. The rocks at the top began to erode, and a large number of stones had accumulated at the bottom of the falls. Scientists realized that if nothing was done soon, the Niagara Falls was going to be in serious trouble.

bare rock face of American Falls
Until engineers constructed the temporary dam in 1969, no one had seen the bare rock face of American Falls since March 30, 1848, when an ice jam from Lake Erie stopped the Niagara River. Source:

Soon it was announced that engineers were going to drain the American side of the falls for six months. While townspeople wondered how they were going to get through a tourist season with no tourists, people from all around the world began wondering what lay hidden beneath the roaring waters. But nobody was prepared for what was actually found at the bottom.

Discovering the Unknown

No one knew what to expect when the water was drained. What secrets was that murky water hiding for almost 18,000 years? While some people thought engineers would find hidden treasure, others thought they would discover something more sinister. As the days went on, engineers found more and more bones but weren’t sure if they were from humans or from large animals that accidentally fell into the falls.

Clifford & Madeline Valentine via Niagara Frontier
Clifford & Madeline Valentine via Niagara Frontier. Source: Imgur

Then one day, engineers came across two skeletons, which researchers determined were of a man and a woman. Based on witness accounts, the male jumped had jumped to his death years before. However, the story surrounding the female is unknown and perhaps more tragic. But this didn’t stop people from speculating what happened to her moments before her death.

Until Death Do Us Part

Researchers studied the female’s skeleton, but they couldn’t determine a cause of death. Given that she was found at the bottom of the Niagara Falls, researchers concluded that she drowned. Many people believe that she saw the love of her life jump and decided that she couldn’t live without him.

Niagra Falls from the bottom on the river
Niagra Falls from the bottom on the river. Source: Shutterstock

There are around 40 people a year who lose their life at the Niagara Falls, but not everyone who gets washed away from the falls did so on purpose. Many stunt performers went over the Niagara Falls with the intent to prove that the impossible is, in fact, possible. While most people do, in fact, lose their life, there are a few people who lived to tell the tale.

Meet Annie Edson Taylor

At the age of 63, Annie Edson Taylor decided to plunge over the Niagara Falls in a wooden barrel to make some extra money. Annie worked as a schoolteacher, but times were tough, and she had trouble finding a job. So on October 24, 1901, on the day of her 63rd birthday, Annie took the plunge.

Annie Edson Taylor (1858-1921). American Schoolteacher And Daredevil
Annie Edson Taylor (1858-1921). American Schoolteacher And Daredevil. She Was The First Person To Survive A Trip Over Niagara Falls In A Barrel. Photo By Granger/Shutterstock

Miraculously, she lived to tell the tale, making her the first person to survive a trip over the Niagara Falls. Although she made it out alive with only a scratch on her forehead, Annie said that she would never attempt the stunt again. Although other daredevils have tried to recreate her stunt over the years, many have not been as successful.