"Wizardry is very close to nature and is in no way a form of religion," said school director Andreas Starchel, originally a Carinthian IT expert who now goes by the name of Grand Wizard Dakaneth.
"The schools aim is to pass on witches and wizards ancestral know- ledge from the druid tradition which is gradually being forgotten," he added.
Staff at the real-life Hogwarts, located in an unassuming village in the Carinthian hills, say students can study the mythology behind the creation of Harry Potter and that the influence the books have had on people has made it a worthy subject to be taught in depth at a proper school of magic.
The school already saw enquiries go through the roof last year in the wake of the release of the 7th book in the J. K. Rowling series with their, "Legend of Harry Potter" course.
Students at the school take a six-semester course in all things related to witchcraft and wizardry using "scientific methods" to earn their 'Veneficus Certificate' - an internatio-
nally approved witches qualification.
But even the ancient art of wizardry has had to give ground to the computer age - aspiring Wizards can study the seven module course - and 1,000 pages of ancient scripts that go with it - interactively on the Internet, as students from countries such as USA, UK, Hawaii, and Japan have done already.
The school has received over 50 visits from foreign journalsts in the past year interest has been so strong. A group of Japanese journalists flew all the way to Austria just to do a half-hour interview.
Starchel is keen to stress the accessability of his profession, "Druids could be described as wise men, more in tune with nature than the devil
"Witches and druids are always considered evil thanks to the church.
"Harry Potter made a change to that."
Before the school was started Carinthia was known for its spectacular scenery and its far-right leader Jörg Haider - Carinthias politicians might not be sleeping so soundly when they find out Wizard Dakaneth is onto them though. He said,
"I think there are evil forces at work in the Carinthian government," and pauses before saying, "and you can quote me on that."
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