JULY 16, 1953
BELGRADE, Yugoslavia—Before I stop writing about Greece for good I must just go back for a minute to my visit to Epidaurus and to one of the things Professor Dinsmoor told us about. Archaeologists can have a great deal of amusement over guessing how the buildings whose ruins they uncover were really used.
Professor Dinsmoor told me that one theory was that the treatment of those who were sick, which was largely done during the night through a type of hypnotism and suggestion, had been carried out in the following fashion. The patients were arranged like the spokes of a wheel in a chamber underneath which there was a great open space and they surmised that perhaps the priests walked around under there muttering incantations which they wished to have enter the minds of the patients and invalids. Hocus pocus we might call it, but many people were cured and it is no stranger than some of the treatments which might be given under certain circumstances today.
En route to Belgrade we travelled on the Greek airlines and I must say the pilots did a wonderful job of avoiding, or flying under, what looked like very severe storms. It was a bit rough and bumpy and I was very sorry for one poor gentleman sitting in front of us who suffered every minute of the trip. We stopped at Salonica where they had just had a cloud burst and when we arrived practically everything was afloat.
We reached Belgrade where our watches had to be set back an hour, at four thirty p.m. their time. I was interested in watching the country as we flew. It looks like good farm country and in spite of all the fighting which must have gone on there are still trees and there is none of the arid look which you get in so many parts of Greece, particularly in the mountains. One reason seems to be that the government in Yugoslavia has made a determined effort to cut down on the herds of goats. One minister told me they had been forbidden in certain places, unsuccessfully, but at least they have been controlled and they do not eat every blade of grass and even the trees. Someone told me they actually saw goats climbing branches in some places.
Immediately on arrival we were greeted by many of my old friends from the U.N. meetings, Mr. and Mrs. Vilfan, Dr. Ribnikar, Mr. and Mrs. Brana Gebremovic and Mr. and Mrs. Dedijer. We went directly to the Hotel Majestic and in a few minutes Dr. Ribnikar and Mr. Vilfan sat down with us to discuss our program. After a short time they went away to try to reduce it to actual days and possibilities of travel.