Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Fatal Jump of Sam Patch

179 years ago today, daredevil Sam Patch succesfully leaped from the High Falls in Rochester, NY. His stunt drew a less spectacular crowd than he had hoped for. So, he planned to do the stunt all over again on the following Friday...Friday the 13th. Only a month earlier, Sam had become the first daredevil to jump off of the Niagara Falls and live. His second jump in Rochester was advertised as his last. This was because Patch intended it to be his final jump in the US before moving on to perform in Europe. However, the sign would prove prophetic and become more final than the loophole Sam had planned.

In order to make his next jump more spectacular, Patch had a platform built to raise him 25 feet higher in the air, increasing the jump off of the 96 foot falls to 121 feet. As was apparently his usual custom, Sam drank liqour prior to jumping. It may have played a role in his death. Patch was witnessed to go limp as he plummeted toward the water at the base of the falls. He hit the water in an awkward position and failed to resurface. His body wouldn't be discovered for months.

The daredevil's demise led to stories of haunting at the falls. It also inspired mutliple famous authors of the era, including Hawthorne and Melville. It is also said to have furthered both prohibition efforts and religious conversion in the area.

There is a lot to the story of Sam Patch and especially the High Falls. Visit the article at our site to find out which American President named his favorite horse after Sam, as well as other facts such as the odd things Sam Patch did with his pet bear cub (Hint: This guy would be on PETA's poop list were he still alive).

Pay a visit to the High Falls gorge.

-Tom G

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