At present is a vital day in historical past that your highschool trainer virtually definitely forgot to inform you about. On this present day, Oct. 24, 119 years in the past in 1901, a 63-year-old schoolteacher named Annie Edson Taylor turned the primary particular person to efficiently go over Niagara Falls in a barrel.
Taylor was not the primary particular person to aim a plunge over the well-known falls. In October 1829, Sam Patch jumped down the 175-foot Horseshoe Falls (the biggest of the three waterfalls that make up Niagara Falls), however Taylor was the innovator who got here up with the thought of including a barrel to the journey. And so, with the assistance of two assistants, Taylor strapped herself right into a leather-based harness inside an previous picket pickle barrel lined with cushions to interrupt her fall, then hitched a ship journey out to be reduce unfastened and despatched sprawling down the falls.
A bit battered from the journey, however in the end unhurt, 20 minutes later Taylor and her barrel washed up on shore.
Did Taylor succeed?
That’s an fascinating query. On the one hand, she did accomplish one thing nobody earlier than her ever had — surviving a journey down Niagara in a barrel. As a daredevil she was an plain success.
As an inspiration to others, her observe document is a little more blended. She definitely did encourage many different individuals to tackle Niagara Falls. Between 1901 and 1995, 15 different individuals gave it a shot. However solely 10 of them really survived. The barrel, because it turned out, was considerably essential to her success. Jesse Sharp and Robert Overcracker rode a kayak and a jet ski, respectively, over the falls in 1990 and 1995 — and each died whereas taking the plunge.
However Taylor’s said purpose was to not be a daredevil or an inspiration — she wished to be wealthy and well-known. That didn’t fairly pan out, as evidenced by the truth that till you learn this, odds are you’d by no means heard the identify Annie Edson Taylor earlier than.
We at PYMNTS can’t in good conscience endorse following in her daring footsteps (or barrel steps). For one factor, it’s not secure, and for one more it’s very a lot unlawful and carries extremely excessive fines. Nonetheless, we are able to’t assist however respect her sense of derring-do when it got here to pursuing her goals of renown and riches and her full willingness to suppose exterior the field (and into the barrel).
After a 2020 that has been tough by any measure, it may really feel like this can be a 12 months for individuals like Annie Edson Taylor, because the COVID-19 pandemic primarily meant that all of us — customers, retailers, monetary providers skilled — collectively wakened one morning to seek out we have been going over the pandemic falls, and our greatest safety was going to be the digital barrel we constructed to go over in. And whereas there have been numerous corporations that didn’t survive the drop, and there’ll nonetheless be extra of these to return, what has been maybe encouragingly shocking is simply what number of buoyant barrels have gone over — and floated as much as the floor on the opposite aspect.
And this week the ranks of these taking the nice digital plunge have been joined by a maybe surprising participant.
Santa Claus goes digital.
Santa Claus Isn’t Coming To City, However His City’s Coming To Digital Units
As PYMNTS has beforehand reported, being a mall Santa is surprisingly severe enterprise. They’ve been round for the reason that 1840’s, and 2019 was a document 12 months for Santa hirings nationwide.
“We can never fulfill all the requests we’re getting just because we don’t have enough Santas,” mentioned Megan Value, director of buyer expertise at GigSalad.
In response to Value, as of 2019 confirmed bookings for Santa have been up 128 % over the past 4 years.
“The number of Santas we have on the site has grown about 102 percent over the last four years,” Value mentioned, noting that even with extra reserves, there simply isn’t sufficient Santa to go round. “People come every year and say they want to book a Santa. Usually we run out fairly quickly.”
Normally, however not in 2020 — as Santa’s are sitting out the season given COVID-19 social distancing restrictions make sitting on Santa’s lap principally unimaginable. Shops are shutting down their Christmas villages, even when these villages are iconic. Macy’s, the retailer that enshrined the division retailer Santa as a vacation establishment within the 1947 movie “Miracle on 34th Street,” has introduced that Santa won’t be making an look at any Macy’s shops this 12 months for the primary time in 159 years.
As a substitute, Macy’s has introduced it’s making an attempt to recreate the vacation magic for youngsters and households through a digital portal that will probably be accessible on-line from Nov. 27 to Dec. 24. The new digital expertise will permit as much as three kids per household to participate within the custom-made digital expertise at one time.
The expertise will embrace a greeting from digital elf tour guides who will information kids by Santa’s village and workshop, which can include interactive options and video games for youngster guests. Individuals can even have the choice to digitally “meet” Santa through an interactive video chat to snap a selfie with Santa — and naturally, replace him on what vacation want checklist.
“At Macy’s, the safety of our customers and colleagues is paramount,” mentioned Susan Tercero, Macy’s vice chairman of branded leisure. “To replicate the magical experience of visiting Macy’s Santaland for children and their families, we will shift to a virtual engagement this year. For many, visiting Santa at Macy’s has become a long-standing highlight of the holiday season.”
A convention, she famous, that may’t be safely operated within the previous means — however hopefully might be digitally up to date sufficient to be pleasing in a wholly new means.
Will prospects go for a newly digitally imagined Santa? Time will inform, however it’s notable that no less than some purchasing facilities are hedging their bets and having a bodily Santa on the prepared.
However for the health-concerned and digitally-focused this season, snapping a selfie with Santa at a digital distance simply is perhaps the digital plunge they’re searching for to maintain the custom alive, and the danger at bay.