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CROATIA

Luminiferous Folly?

By Jheri St. James

“So astounding are the facts in this connection, that it would seem as though the Creator himself had electrically designed this planet." (Nikola Tesla, The Transmission of Electrical Energy Without Wires as a Means of Furthering World Peace – 1905).

Croatia is situated between central, southern, and eastern Europe. It has a rather peculiar shape that resembles a crescent or a horseshoe, which helps account for its many neighbors: Slovenia, Hungary, the Serbian part of Serbia and Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Montenegrin part of Serbia and Montenegro, and Italy across the Adriatic. Its mainland territory is split into two non-contiguous parts by the short coastline of Bosnia and Herzegovina around Neum.

Croatia is the Latinized version of the native name of the country: Hrvatska. Croatia, the “Land of 1,000 Islands,” is indeed unique, not only for its crystal clear, clean blue sea, but also for a thousand years of different cultures that have both replaced each other and assimilated in these areas. The Adriatic Sea is not only a deep gulf in the Mediterranean cut into the Continent of Europe, thereby creating a most economical trade route between Europe and the East, it is also the cradle of ancient civilizations. There is much material evidence finally beginning to come to light from the depths of Adriatic caves and the deep blue sea.

The east coast of the Adriatic Sea was inhabited at the beginning of the early Stone Age, according to archaeological findings in caves near the islands of Hvar and Palagruza. The geography of the coast, with numerous bays, inlets and coves, has always provided significant mercantile and nautical routes. Findings from the 6th century BC indicate that ancient Greeks traded with the Illyrians and founded their colonies in today’s Starigrad, on the islands of Hvar and Issa – or Vis. Later the Romans arrived, built palaces and summer residences and also spent a considerable amount of time on the sea. Many underwater amphore (storage vessels for wine, wheat, oils and perfumes) have been found between Pula and Cavtat. Divers today commonly find the remains of ancient ships and cargoes, including pythos or dolias, large pottery vessels built into ships to transport bulk cargo. One such site is near Cavtat, while another is near Murter.

A new era dawned with the arrival of the Slavs, a period characterized by constant struggles for supremacy and defenses against diverse enemies. Dubrovnik, eminent in its position as an independent republic, played a leading role in culture and trade. A 17th-century shipwrecked galley bears witness to those times, having carried Muran glass, window glass, and other valuable objects from Venice; also fitted with cannons. It sank near the island of Olipe, off the coast of Dubrovnik.

In the 18th century, Napoleon ruled for a short period of time, after which he was replaced by the Austrian monarchy. During the next 100 years, Italy and Austria fought each other for supremacy of the east coast, culminating in the battle of Vis in 1866, when Austria trounced Italy. The remains of this warfare can be found not only on the mainland, but also under the sea in the shape of shipwrecks and the detritus of great ships. The period of Austro-Hungarian rule commenced. Ports were built and fortified, trade and shipbuilding flourished. During the two World Wars, the Adriatic was one of the more important areas of battle, and there are many shipwrecks dating from those periods. Near Pula, for example, a strategically vital naval harbor, 20 shipwrecks have been located, including a number of submarines, destroyers, and torpedo-boats The importance of the Adriatic Sea as an important maritime route between East and West, can still be seen today in these numerous relics.

Across the Eastern Adriatic shores of Croatia, there are in addition many inland monuments from early medieval times. A hundred churches from Istria to Boka Kotorska Bay are evidence of the Early Croatian artistic expression in distinctive building types. Rarely mentioned in European art literature, many of these churches are located in the most remote rural areas. Here is a picture of St. Donat Church in Zadar. It looks like it contains a lot of steps.

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A wise man once said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. The inception of the Common Ground 191 project began as a reaction to the destruction of the buildings and steps of the Twin Towers on 9/11 in New York City, USA. It was during those tough days that Gary Simpson’s heart was moved to initiate an artistic representation of humanity’s basic oneness, an effort to counteract man’s hostile differences of thought and belief. It is now five years later; many steps have been taken. Many, many steps. Coordinating the vision is more intricate than the coastline of Croatia: the studio space in which to function, the communication and information media and devices, the organization of tasks and people to fulfill them, the coordination of time and money, the faith and belief that it will all come to fruition. In the case of Croatia’s soil, the job was made somewhat easier by the angels, operating from the steps of heaven.

Doreen Virtue is an internationally renowned teacher/speaker on the subjects of goddesses, angels, intuition, and therapy. She publishes a worldwide, online newsletter and has been the catalyst for many soil collections for the Common Ground 191 project. Taya Albolena Lila read this newsletter from Luvblvana in Slovenia and has since shipped us soils she collected while walking on the soils of Croatia, Austria, and Slovenia. Some of the soils have been heroic; others personal. Croatian soil for instance came from the “home of a friend, Mirjana”. And that’s all the description we have. But many steps were taken to be able to say one has a friend. Who is to say that the soil from a friend in Kozuaca, Croatia, near Zagreb is any less significant than that of Auschwitz, South Africa, or the soil grabbed at the airport in Iraq by an anonymous soldier? Really and truly, that’s what the vision of Common Ground is all about, friendship between people and countries, and actions of amity—exploring the places where we are all one, living on common ground.

Of all the frictional resistances, the one that most retards human movement is ignorance, what Buddha called ‘the greatest evil in the world.’ The friction which results from ignorance can be reduced only by the spread of knowledge and the unification of the heterogeneous elements of humanity. No effort could be better spent. (Nikola Tesla)

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Croatia on land is also an archaeological treasure-trove. Early Bronze Age cultures (3000-2200 B.C.) left traces of the Vucedol Culture in the region near Vukovar, contemporary to Ancient Egypt (Old Kingdom), the Sumerians, and old Troy. There exist many remains of ancient Greek and Roman civilizations, such as the palace of the Roman Emperor Diocletian (4th century) in Split; the ancient city of Salona near Split, the most
important early Christian archaeological site after Rome; the ancient city of Narona near Metkovic; and the Arena in Pula (1st century, 6th largest in the world, 23,000 seats). Croatia is also a very important repository of Byzantine art, one example being the Euphrasius Basilica in Porec, built in the 6th century.

Croatian art in our time is amply represented by people such as Ivan Mestrovic (1883-1962), who created many sculptural masterpieces shown in the Mestrovic gallery in Split and in Zagreb, the capital of Croatia. His sculptures are seen in London, Florence, Torino, Rome, Prague, Budapest, Chicago, New York, Belgrade, Zagreb, and South Bend Indiana, Rochester, Minnesota and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.


Ancient Fresco at
St. John Church on Sipa

Croatian painter and muralist Maximilian (Maxo) Vanka (Zagreb 1889-Mexico 1963) exhibited throughout Europe and obtained many honors, including the French Legion of Honor. Some American specialists consider his the best church frescos in the U.S.A., located at St. Nicholas Croatian Church in Pennsylvania. The murals were

done during eight weeks in 1937, and cover the interior of the church. Below the Virgin holding the child, on each side of the altar, are Croatian people, on the left from the Old World, and on the right from the New. A steel foundry can be seen belching smoke behind them. But more amazing are the political murals that echo the crucifixion. Widows mourn over a soldier in a coffin containing a bleeding corpse; crosses cover the hillside behind them. Another wall depicts a corrupt justice in a gas mask holding scales on which the gold outweighs the bread.

One of the symbols of the United Nations that everybody knows is the Horsewoman (the Monument of Peace), a sculpture created by Croatian Antun Augustincic (12900-1979). It was given as a gift to the UN and is situated in front of the main building in New York. The base of the monument is made of marble from Brac, an island in Croatia.

Other famous painters and sculptures from this country include Oton Gliha, Vrigilije Nevjestic, Dusan Dzamonja, and many, many others. And the art of writing has not been overlooked in the cultural life of Croatia. The earliest monument for L.N. Tolstoy (1828-1910) was erected in Selca in 1911, a year after his death.

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If science is an art, then Croatian Nikola Tesla was a master. Born at midnight between July 9th and 10th, 1856, in the village of Smiljan near Gospic, in the Lika region of the Military Frontier (Krajina) of the Habsburg Monarchy, now in Croatia, Tesla went to school in Karlovac (then Austria-Hungary, now Croatia), then studied electrical engineering at the Austria Politechnic in Graz, Austria (1875, studying particularly the uses of alternating current.

In 1884 Tesla, leaving the warfare of his birthplace behind, moved to the USA to accept a job with the Edison Company in New York—with four cents, a book of poetry, and a letter of recommendation from his previous manager. Offered a job by Thomas Edison, he began with simple electrical engineering. Then Edison offered him $50,000 if the redesign of his dynamos was successfully completed. Tesla worked nearly a year on this project and gave the Edison company several enormously profitable new patents. When Tesla inquired about the $50,000, Edison replied, “Tesla, you don’t understand our American humor” and reneged on the agreement, offering a raise in salary of $10 a week as a compromise. Tesla resigned on the spot, wordlessly leaving the premises.

After forming Tesla Electric Light and Manufacturing, his investors disagreed with his plan for designing an alternating current motor and dismissed him. This genius then worked as a common laborer. In 1888, he demonstrated his initial brushless alternate-current induction motor and began working with George Westinghouse in Pittsburgh, where he developed his ideas for polyphase systems, which would allow transmission of AC electricity over large distances. During the next few years, Tesla worked on X-rays, actually burning his hands in the process. He generated AC of one million volts, using a conical Tesla coil and investigated the skin effects of conductors, designed tuned circuits, invented a machine for inducing sleep, cordless gas discharge lamps, and transmitted electromagnetic energy without wires, effectively building the first radio transmitter.

In 1893 at the Chicago World’s Fair, an international exposition was held which for the first time devoted a building to electrical exhibits. It was an historic event as Tesla and George Westinghouse introduced visitors to AC power by using it to illuminate the exposition. In protest, Thomas Edison would not allow use of any of his lightbulbs for this event. By this time Tesla and Edison were adversaries due to Edison’s promotion of his DC for electric power distribution over large areas, in competition with Tesla’s AC. Tesla was probably given much support in this conflict by his good friend, Mark Twain. Other Tesla patents and inventions during this time included the first radio, a remote-controlled boat, and a type of loudspeaker.

In 1899, he moved to Colorado Springs for high-voltage high-frequency experiments. He told reporters that he was conducting experiments transmitting signals from Pikes Peak to Paris. There, he developed systems for wireless telegraphy, telephony and the transmission of power, experimented with high-voltage electricity and the possibility of wireless transmitting, and a system for geophysical exploration—
seismology—which he called telegeodynamics.

Much of what Tesla discovered while in this lab has been lost to history. There is talk of Tesla’s “Death Ray” to this day, as well as communication with other planets. This man became the first to create electrical effects on the scale of lightning. He left Colorado Springs in 1900, but the soil around his lab today charts a denser magnetic field than the surrounding area. At one point he destroyed the Colorado Springs Electric Company’s generator and blacked out the city. Among the various applications of the 700-plus patents accumulated by Tesla, the most controversial today is his Wardenclyffe Tower, billed as the start of a global system for wireless telecommunications, later dismantled for scrap during wartime. Today’s wireless satellite communicators might argue with those who labeled Wardenclyffe “Tesla’s million-dollar folly”.

Croatia is a geography that has produced a wide variety of human endeavor, from diving into the depths, to sparks in the sky, and myriad cultural and artistic expressions . Nikola Tesla spent some part of his life in a mental institution for his thinking and ideas. New ideas are often considered crazy follies. Some might think that Common Ground 191 is a crazy idea—and there are moments where Gary Simpson might agree with them—when the soil collections become more challenging in nations not popular for tourists. But Tesla’s story shows that the future sometimes validates crazy ideas of the past. The time may come when people will sit around and talk about all the centuries of genocides, warfare, killing, and decimation (like those in Croatia) with irony that man could have been so ignorant. Man has free will and can change his mind any time. We at Common Ground 191 support this change of mind, this recognition that, like the soil at Tesla’s laboratory in Colorado, there are higher frequency vibrations, those that resonate with friendship and harmony on our planet. It will come, one step, one soil, at a time.

There manifests itself in the fully developed being, Man, a desire mysterious, inscrutable and irresistible: to imitate nature, to create, to work himself the wonders he perceives. Long ago he recognized that all perceptible matter comes from a primary substance, or tenuity beyond conception, filling all space, the Akasa or luminiferous ether, which is acted upon by the life-giving Prana or creative force, calling into existence, in never ending cyles all things and phenomena. The primary substance, thrown into infinitesimal whirls of prodigious velocity, becomes gross matter; the force subsiding, the motion ceases and matter disappears, reverting to the primary substance.” (Nikola Tesla, Man’s Greatest Achievement, 1907)

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