Listen to The Aztec Death Whistle Horrifying Sound

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The Aztec death whistle, or “silbato de la muerte,” truly lives up to its name.

The ancient Aztecs used it as a battle cry, which would have guaranteed them victory if their enemies did the smart thing and ran away immediately.

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Skeleton of man buried at wind god temple, Tlatelolco, with death whistle in his hand. Picture via Mexicolore

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What is the Aztec Death whistle?

In the 1990s, archeologists in Mexico City unearthed a 500-year-old skeleton in front of the Ehecatl (wind) temple of Tlatelolco. It was a victim of human sacrifice and was holding two small whistles, one in the shape of a skull.

When a researcher blew into one of the tiny instruments, the horrifying sounds that emerged immediately captivated imaginations.

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Aztec death whistle model. Picture via Mexicolore

One scholar described the noise as “a shriek of death.”

That first and only find in archeological context suggests that the whistles are associated with Ehecatl and the wind and Mictlantecutli (death), and they could be related to the ritual of sacrifice.

How does the Aztec Death whistle sound like?

The dreadful, high-pitched sound of the whistle is perhaps most comparable to a human scream.

There are different air streams generated within the structure of these instruments, which then diametrically hits against each other.

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Cross section of Aztec death whistle. Picture via Mexicolore

And thus the Aztecs were able to produce a very shrill and noisy sound.

What were the Aztec Death whistle used for?

The death whistle was exclusively used in several zones of ancient Mexico and belongs to a very unusual family of Mexican resonators. The true purpose of these artifacts is still baffling experts.

Some believe they were used terrorize enemies in warfare.

Aztec warriors were known to beat wooden drums as they advanced into battle. They might also have blown these nasty whistles.

You can imagine the frightening sound if you had 200 or 300 or 5,000 warriors blowing these instruments. That would be extremely intimidating.

Another theory suggests the whistle may have been used to bring comfort and induce trances as part of healing rituals, rather than to terrify.

Unfortunately, the exact original use and purpose of the death whistle and many other ancient resonators have been lost.

There are some ancient death whistles made of clay in museums and collections, but very few of their studies and sounds have been published.

It seems that sacred and sound were closely related by the Maya with a pyramid temple making the chriping sound of the sacred Quetzal bird. More strange phenomena news on Strange Sounds or Steve Quayle.

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5 COMMENTS

  1. I much prefer the sound of the bagpipes used by my Scottish ancestors. It is much more positive and uplifting.

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