Big iDeas ‘Learn How To’ series brings magic to SMU

Some SMU students may have a few tricks up their sleeves after the Big iDeas event on Thursday evening… Magic tricks, that is.

In the third event of the ‘Learn How To’ program, students “learned how to wow.” SMU alum and professional magician Trigg Watson stopped by the Caruth Institute and taught students the illusions behind some of his tricks.

“People see magic tricks and they think up all of these complex methods when in reality, it’s all much simpler,” Watson said just before he made a saltshaker disappear into the table.

Watson, the 2015 Dallas magician of the year and a two-time winner of the Texas Magic Competition, left some of his tougher tricks from such competitions at home. However, he did reveal the secrets behind crowd-pleasers like how to bend a metal fork and various tricks to do with a dollar bill.

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Trigg Watson shows the crowd a magic trick using a rubberband. Photo credit: Jenn D'Agostino

Trigg Watson was not the only magician present; SMU senior and magician-in-training Kyle Hartman showed the crowd a mind reading card trick of his own.

“Trigg and I are good friends, so I came by originally just to watch,” said the music composition major.

Watson performed all of his tricks flawlessly, and the crowd was in shock when they realized that they too could be magicians using everyday objects. The tricks Watson taught were simple “party tricks” that could impress anybody from a group of friends to an interviewer.

“If you arrive in somebody’s office just set this one up, and then say ‘let me show you one thing before I go,” said Watson on one of his favorite tricks involving a paperclip.

This is not all you can learn from Big iDeas’ LHT sessions. With previous successful sessions like ‘LHT negotiate’ and ‘LHT start your own business’, program director Jonah Kirby is excited for the program to continue and gain more traction.

“It’s a chance for hands-on learning experiences outside the classroom and to really learn and practice something focused on engagement,” said Kirby.

The spring lineup for the program will be released soon, but Kirby encourages students to email him with and ideas for future sessions in the meantime at

As for those who want to learn more about the illusion behind magic, you can visit Trigg Watson’s website for more information.

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