How Dumb Was Houdini?

I've always assumed Houdini was pretty dumb. And I've read a number of books about him and none of them really changed my mind about that. Obviously he was a brilliant showman and magician and a genius in certain ways, but just as a human he strikes me as kind of a dope. It might be the name Houdini. "I called myself Houdini because I like Robert Houdin." He doesn't get enough shit for that. That's a pretty dumb thing to do. You don't agree? You think it's cool? Okay, imagine you're on a train and the guy sitting next to you says, "I'm a magician. My name is Coby Copperfield-O, after my hero, David Copperfield." Not so cool now, is it.

Also, get off that train. I don't trust Coby to not turn that shit into a Terror Train in honor of his idol.

So, I have to say, I wasn't completely surprised when I saw a moronic quote attributed to Houdini while searching around for stuff online.

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Let's parse this for a moment. "My brain is the key that sets my mind free." His brain sets his mind free? What could that possibly mean, given that, in this context, brain and mind are used synonymously?

Was he dumb enough to say this?

As it turns out, no, he wasn't. What he said was:

"My brain is the key that sets ME free."

Okay, so it's a mind over matter type thing. He's saying it's not about the locks or the picks, it's about using his brain and focusing his mind, that's what sets him free. At least I think that's what he's saying.

That makes sense.

But what doesn't make sense is that I found that Houdini design on ebay and a number of shirts had sold with that mis-quote on it.

Did people not read it? Did it somehow make sense to them? Or is there just a subset of dumb people who will buy any shirt with Houdini on it regardless of what it says?

I'm hoping it's the latter because I'm starting a new t-shirt company. Here are some of my initial designs.

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