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Meraluna Logo 11 .-12. August 2018 Hildesheim

M'era Luna Academy

Dress up, grab your pals: we welcome you to the goth version of Hogwarts – the M’era Luna Academy! For the first time in our festival history we expand our festival program with several workshops and lectures. You always wanted to experience an international expert of forensic biology in the flesh - you can! You’re interested in myths and facts about vampires? Gerald Axelrod will have all (or at least most of the) answers. You want to try your skills on the catwalk? Do so by getting professional coaching by Model Anja Mensch.

Please apply via our online registration below.

Lecture: Mark Benecke

„Marc Benecke is the jack of all trades of darkness.“ This is how author Christian von Aster once described the world-renowned forensic biologist. He didn’t exaggerate, because Benecke has been successful in his field for well over 20 years and continues to fascinate the public through numerous appearances in national media. Benecke teaches about death – and therefore also about life.

After attaining his doctorate at the Institute for Forensic Medecine at University of Cologne he continued to hone his craft all over the world, including the FBI. Today, Benecke is Germany’s only officially appointed expert for biological traces and has specialized in forensic entomology. Despite or because of his career, Benecke is an avid publisher, and not only of scientific papers – he also received a lot of praise for popular scientific and children’s books. Sure, “Dr. Maggot” may be able to lecture fluently and fascinatingly about the bowfly and its impact on decay – but he also has a lot to say about politics, ethics or even Duckburg.

Guests of M’era Luna have the chance to witness Benecke’s eloquence during two presentations. And because the most famous forensic expert of Germany is curious by nature, he has thought of something special: Fans had the chance to suggest possible topics for his lecture via Facebook. Everything else would probably be too boring for this exceptional mind.

Additional rules apply and are available for dowload HERE.

No Entry after the begin of the reading!

Lecture: Transylvania – In the realm of Dracula

Gerald Axelrod was born in 1962 in Hard (Austria). At the age of 13 he started to develop and enlarge his own black and white photos. In 1997, he published the illustrated book “…als lebten die Engel auf Erden” (…when angels lived on earth) that quickly turned into a success and was followed by numerous other publications. With well over a dozen exhibitions in Europe and USA (e. g. Leica Gallery New York) Gerald Axelrod stands among the most renowned photographers worldwide. He lives next to Vienna, but also feels right at home in Transylvania that he explored on several journeys. Throughout Europe, Gerald gained fame for his guided tours about Dracula and the ,Vampire-Countess’ Elisabeth Báthory at Castle Lockenhaus.

May 1897 the Irish Writer Beam Stoker released a book in London called „Dracula“. Within his investigations the Irish author bumped into a Romanian Prince, who’s real name was: Vlad III. Draculea (1431-1476/77).

We want to go on trace search to investigate the sources that inspired Bram Stoker to write his novel. In the first part of his reading Gerald Axelrod will describe the life of Dracula. Dracula was born in 1431 in the Transylvanian city Schäßburg. Later he became the ruler over the adjacent princedom of Wallachia. He was known as the most cruel and bloodthirsty ruler of his time and until now there are myths gathering around him. Was Prince Dracula a Vampire?

In the second part of the reading we will get to the bottom of the question – How did the belief in vampires develop? Do vampires exist? The Romanians still strongly believe in vampires. This lead to hangings of vampires until February 2004!

Bram Stoker connected historical facts about Vlad Dracula and reports about vampires to a sophisticated mix of superstition, fear, history and reality, whereby the most fascinating vampire of all time developed.

In the end Gerald Axelrod will show photos of his journeys through Transylvania and will tell stories about his experiences in the land of bloodsuckers and living dead.


Tattoo-Model and Catwalk-Coach Anja Mensch knows exactly how to captivate an audience.  During three training sessions, she will teach women and men alike how to catch the looks of the audience with the right body awareness and mindset. Of course, the right outfits are just as important as the model’s aura. That’s why the Dutch label Attitude Holland will provide 30 outfits for the M’era Luna Academy that’ll make sure that even newcomers to the catwalk will cut a good figure. The training is not about sterile walks, but rather the highlighting of one’s own charisma.

The only thing you’ll need are some (high) shoes that you feel comfortable in – and of course the will to strike a pose in great outfits to deliver an unforgettable show.