Annie Edson Taylor
History is littered with tales of lesser known psychics, and Annie Taylor is one of the more interesting examples. A flamboyant woman who was willing to turn her hand to diverse trades and enterprises in order to make a living. but was she a sincere psychic of simply a scam artist willing to act the part of profit?
Annie Edson Taylor (1838-1921) was a self-declared clairvoyant and spiritual healer. She was also a dedicated member of the Episcopal Church. But this was not her main claim to fame...
Over the Falls in a Barrel
Edson Taylor may be better known as the first person to ever go over Niagara Falls in a barrel, and survive. She began a long tradition for daredevils going over the falls.
She derived some income from posing for photographs after this achievement. However her real goal of collecting money from the observers or earning lucrative speaking fees was never realized.
Edson Taylor was sixty-three years old when she tumbled over Horseshoe falls in a specially designed barrel on October 24, 1901. However contemporary accounts show that she claimed to be only 46.
Edson Taylor took up the practice of paranormal activities after her barrel stunt, when a living could no longer be made directly from her notoriety. She and does not seem to have been immensely successful in this endeavor either as she died in a state of poverty.
The November 6th Niagara Falls Gazette demonstrates that by 1919 (when she would have been 81 years old) she had begin advertising herself as a psychic, specializing in automatic writing. However little information seems to be available as to what kind of being or spirit she was channeling.
Real or Not?
Given Taylor's history as an attention seeking and opportunist, and her willingness to bend the truth, it seems likely that her psychic act was simply another performance. The spirit of the times was rather credulous when is came to spiritualism and the lines between the paranormal and mainstream religion were considerably blurred. it seems most likely that Taylor used this as part of yet another money-making scheme rather than that she was a true believer.
Annie from the Other Side
In 2011 the Niagara Falls Paranormal group went to the Oakwood Ceremony there Edson Taylor is buried in an attempt to summon Edson Taylor and they claimed to have made voice recordings of some kind of spirit on that night.