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A string of 40 beads or a cord of 40 knots which some witches use for magic. The beads or knots enable a Witch to concentrate on repeated chants or incantations without having to keep count. Thus enabling the Witch to focus all his or her attention on the desired goal.
According to old tradition, a witchs ladder, a rope of 40 knots, could be used to cast a death spell over a person. The witch tied the knots tightly in hatred and hid the rope so the victim could not find it because the only cure was to find the rope and untie the knots.
Today witchs ladders are used often in healing work. A.G.H.