Aztec Death Whistle: One of the Scariest Sounds You’ll Ever Hear

These days, the Aztecs have a certain reputation. We’ve already told you about their most popular ball game kept score with human vertebrae, and you’re probably familiar with the skull-heavy decor. Now, take a listen to the Aztec death whistle, and find out how that aesthetic extended to their musical tastes as well.

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Skull and Cross-Tones

We’re not going to lie. The sound of the death whistle is the most frightening thing we’ve ever heard. It literally sounds like a screeching zombie. We can only imagine what it would be like to hear hundreds of the whistles from an Aztec army on the march. We’re not entirely certain what the whistles were used for, however. They may have been used as an intimidation tactic in war, but there’s one aspect of Aztec society in which they certainly played a role: human sacrifice.

In 1999, a 20-year-old sacrificial victim was discovered by archaeologists, clutching a death whistle in his hands. He was found in a temple to the wind god Ehecatl at Tlatelolco, suggesting to some scholars that the whistles were meant to evoke the howling wind. In any case, modern musicians and anthropologists have grown more interested in the role the whistles played in the ongoing indigenous history of Mexico.

Sound of the Aztec Death Whistle

The terrifying sound starts at 0:52.

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