In the state of New York, just north of Buffalo, the Niagara Falls provide a beautiful border between the United States and Canada. It’s not the first time that water has been part of a border, but not many include a beautiful falls in the mix. Niagara Falls are considered one of the most well-known and breathtaking landmarks in North America. Having seen them for myself, I can attest to that. Tourists have come from all over the world to see this natural wonder as the power of the water has been on display for over 200 years.

The falls have always been beautiful, but they also have a dark side…and it might have been darker than anyone knew. In 1969, the waters that pounded through the Niagara Falls were stopped before they could get to the area, allowing the bedrock to be exposed and the water to be no more than a little stream. Seeing the Falls like this, for the first time in history, allowed researchers to see a part of this landscape that had been permanently hidden by water. What was found at the bottom of the dried out Falls brought visitors and researchers alike to their knees. Some things were never meant to be found.

The state government and the local community knew that the falls needed some major repairs, if the area was going to continue to have the major tourism business that it had enjoyed for so many years, but they were really not prepared for part of what they found when the water was basically stopped. Niagara Falls is actually made up of three waterfalls, that share a common cliff, making them combined in reality. The American Falls is known for being the most self-destructive one of the three. The water that was going over was eroding it over time. The locals were worried that the America Falls would eventually erode away the cliff, and the tourism trade would end.

What they weren’t really thinking about when the falls were stopped, was what was beneath the falls. Every year, a number of people decide to try some new stunt to gain attention, by going over the falls in a barrel, or some other such vehicle. It’s a crazy idea, and most don’t survive their stunt. That said, one might expect to find lots of bones beneath the falls, when the engineers and workers were standing at the bottom of the Falls, their faces showed total disbelief. “In addition to the massive talus rock and the never before seen geography of the bedrock, there was a far more sinister sight. As the water drew back and dried up so the workers could continue with the plan, they looked down and saw a bones and other remains at their feet. These were not animal remains, either, but human. Everyone at the scene was shocked, but they were also very curious.”

Before them, the engineers found the remains of two individuals, a man and a woman. It was impossible to find out who the remains belonged to, due to the fact that the remains were under water for so long, and the DNA testing and such that we have now were not available then. The whole grisly discovery, remained a mystery, but rumors circulated as to who the people could be. Most assumed that the man might have jumped, but they didn’t think the woman would have. The thing that was even more strange than finding two bodies beneath the falls, was that there were not more bodies of more crazy thrill seekers, because the base of the Falls has had around 5,000 bodies found at its base from 1850 to 2011. Authorities state that between 20 and 40 people a year end their lives right there at the Falls. This statistic is the reason why finding only two bodies in 1969 was so confusing. There should have been more bodies.

Another known, unknown found at the base of the falls were the many coins thrown in as people “made a wish” and tossed in their “lucky” wishing coin. As the engineers looked around, trying to find information on the mystery couple, they also found that there were millions upon millions of coins. While everyone as shocked at both findings, the main mission of the blockage of the water was to fix the falls and get them back on track. Despite the remains and coins that had been found, the point of the mission was to get water going again.

Incredibly, despite all the money and time that was spent on this project, after the talus was dried up in American Falls, the lead engineers made the final decision to leave the talus as is, because they realized that the talus was actually supporting the cliff face behind it. To change it could cause the cliff to cave in. Instead they decided to focus on the project of giving the American Falls the revamp it needed. The team of engineers and construction workers came up with a plan to use bolts, anchors, and cables to stabilize the Falls, so that the falls and tourism could get back on track.

My grand niece, Raelynn Masterson is a sweet girl who looks a lot like her mom, my niece, Dustie Masterson. They are really very much alike in lots of ways. They both love music, and Dustie tells me that it isn’t just one kind of music that Raelynn likes…it’s all kinds of music. I think it is a sign of a true music lover, to love all genres of music, because it doesn’t seem to be the music style that attracts them, but rather each tone on its own and the melody it produces when mixed with other tones.

There is a big part of Raelynn that reminds me of me too. Where do I begin? Raelynn loves to write stories…sound familiar to anyone? This seems to be a pastime that Raelynn and her peers are all into these days. She love reading their stories, and they love reading hers. Her stories are further enhanced with her own anime drawings to help tell the story. Now this is where we very much differ, because I cannot draw, so my stories are accompanied by photos. Her mom says that while she doesn’t pretend to understand Raelynn’s love of anime, she can easily see the beauty of her drawings, and the beauty in the stories that accompany the drawings. Another way in which Raelynn reminds me of me is that she loves police procedural shows like Bones and Criminal Minds. I love those shows too, as well as NCIS and CSI, which I’m sure she likes as well. I think it might be the scientist that lives in both of us. We may not be trained scientists, but we really appreciate the scientific procedures and their outcomes. We are both utter geeks. Raelynn learned a Viking game that is a cross between Chess and Tic-Tac-Toe. She recently learned to play at the Science Museum in Denver and the lady that taught her said she did very well…more of the geek I think.

I think most women, especially have the ability to multi-task, but some do it much better that others. When Dustie told me (and I’ve seen it for myself when I’ve been at her house) that Raelynn is an exceptional multi-tasker, it was like someone took a picture of me in the evenings when I’m not on a walk. Raelynn loves to do all these things…reading, writing, drawing, police procedural shows…and she does them at the same time…and doesn’t miss a beat on any one of them. That is the mark of a true multi-tasker, and I find that exceptional!! Raelynn and I both love cats…seriously, is this girl related to me or what? If you need to find the family cat, Lewie inside the house, just find Raelynn, because she is Lewie’s human…and that’s all there is too it. Lewie doesn’t really like the family dog, Missy, and so his favorite place to be in the whole world is with his human. He loves to lay beside her, and she in kind pets him and makes him feel safe and loved.

Recently, Raelynn proved what a strong person she is, when she went through a life changing surgery for scoliosis. Raelynn’s life thus far has been spent with limited mobility and much pain, and yet, she never complained. She had to tell her friends sometimes, that she couldn’t do certain things, because if she bent over, as if to touch her toes, you could see that her spine was near her shoulder blade, and it caused her great pain. Nevertheless, she wasn’t a whiner…or a quitter. She pursued her dreams with a gusto, often ignoring the pain to do the things she wanted to do. She wore a back brace for years and while it really limited movement, she didn’t complain. Now, post surgery, she is healing quickly and is off of all prescription pain meds. She is a shining example of what God can do, if you allow Him to. She is a God-given blessing to her parents, and indeed her whole family. Today, Raelynn turns 14 years old. She is growing into a beautiful young woman. Happy birthday Raelynn!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

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