I am studying the ways in which Americans seek danger or mock danger and why the concept of putting one's self in danger is such an appealing one through a few prime examples in which this is an issue and explore its origins and how the customs have evolved into what they are today.
My first example is the attraction of Niagara Falls and the additional tourist attractions found in the towns that contain them. Tourist information about Niagara repeatedly talks about the Native Americans who lived in the area and their myth of the Maid of the Mist. It is continuously used both as an introduction to the European explorers who first "discovered" the falls and by contemporary daredevils who attempt to brave the falls as Maid of the Mist Lelawalla supposedly did years earlier. In addition to studying the dangerous acts committed at the falls, I am also analyzing how they are portrayed, displayed and reenacted. The IMAX movie in Niagara Falls, Ontario provides the viewer with larger than life reenactments of people who have challenged and survived the falls. The Ride Niagara attraction "takes riders" through a virtual tunnel under the river and out on the New York side and over the falls.