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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature
in Slavic mythology, was an apparition whose coming always occasioned the decease of persons who were sick. The phantom was invisible to the dying themselves, but neighbors might observe it skulking about and finally entering the house of the victim, whose fate was then inevitable. The spasmodic twitchings and the throat rattle of the last hour were evidences of the force which Smernitza employed to separate the soul from the body.
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McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Smernitza'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/s/smernitza.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.
the Fifth Week after Epiphany