Buffalo, NY Trapeze Accident, Aug 1872

We hear from Buffalo, this afternoon, that two trapeze performers, Messrs. Whitney and Shappee, attached to Robinson's circus, then exhibiting at Buffalo, fell yesterday morning at "rehearsal," in practicing a new act, intended particularly for the performance to take place in Binghamton on the 19th instant. The men were practicing their act, which consisted of a fall (in the act) from the upper trapeze, thirty or forty feet high, perhaps, to the lower trapeze, twenty-five or thirty feet above the ground. These distances are estimated. Shappee was in the higher position, and was to drop down, and be caught by Whitney (the latter hanging by his feet to the lower trapeze.) Whitney was to throw Shappee away from the centre pole, to which the trapeze was attached, towards the guy-rope, horizontally; and Shappee was to turn a somersault on the way, and catch and save himself by the guy-rope, attached to the "fly," some fifty feet above. The point at which Shappee was to catch was probably, twenty-five feet from the ground. This is truly a "leap for life." But the leap was only begun when the accident occurred. Shappee dropped, and was caught by Whitney, but, as we understand it, in the effort to throw him off, for the leap, the "guy," which held the "fly", or horizontal iron rod, on which the trapeze ropes hung, broke away from the center pole; and the men, with all the machinery, fell to the ground; the bars, ropes, etc., upon them. The scene was, we are told, and all will very readily understand, fearful in the extreme. The men were picked up, bruised, bleeding and insensible. We believe none of their bones were broken; and that they are expected to recover fully. It is anticipated for them, that they will endeavor to appear in this city, as their home; but that is by no means, as we believe, likely to occur.

Titusville Morning Herald, Titusville, Pa 16 Aug 1872