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Archaeology & History

Does the Aztec death whistle make the creepiest sound in the world ?

By T.K. Randall
December 16, 2023 · Comment icon 12 comments
A woman demonstrates an Aztec death whistle.
A modern recreation of an Aztec death whistle. Image Credit: YouTube / First Nations Music
First used centuries ago, this unique form of whistle makes the haunting sound of a blood-curdling scream.
What's the most disturbing sound you can think of ? Chances are, it wouldn't be far from what can be produced with one of the world's most unique and disturbing whistles.

First discovered by archaeologists during the excavation of a temple in Mexico City in 1990, the Aztec death whistle (or at least an early version of it) was developed and then exclusively used by the Nahuatl-speaking people of the Mexica Empire sometime around 500-700 years ago.

Shaped like a skull, the whistle is capable of producing a loud shrieking sound that resembles a blood-curdling scream, although this is only true of much later, larger reproductions of the whistle as the original whistles made centuries ago were smaller and made a much softer sound.
Even so, modern versions of the whistle are very much the real deal and sound pretty terrifying.

The original purpose of the whistle was likely ceremonial in nature, but these days they can serve multiple uses (such as giving unsuspecting individuals a good scare!)

You can check out a few example whistles (and what they sound like) in the video below.

Source: First Nations Music | Comments (12)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #3 Posted by qxcontinuum 5 months ago
Why the hell is the women in the video wearing horns? Where are her parents , they failed...
Comment icon #4 Posted by Abramelin 5 months ago
The sound the woman in the video produces using that whistle is as creepy as the whistling of an old fashioned kettle used for boiling water. Not.
Comment icon #5 Posted by jmccr8 5 months ago
Hi Rob After listening to the whistles it reminded me of the sound my ex-wife made when she slammed the car door shut on her fingers during one of her anger snits.?
Comment icon #6 Posted by Occupational Hubris 5 months ago
I have a couple of these
Comment icon #7 Posted by Occupational Hubris 5 months ago
Who ****in' cares?
Comment icon #8 Posted by qxcontinuum 5 months ago
I do, I bet she votes with liberals and doesnt pay taxes. I need reliable people to pay my pension plan in the future
Comment icon #9 Posted by Occupational Hubris 5 months ago
**** you're dumb
Comment icon #10 Posted by WVK 5 months ago
Peruvian whistling bottles Measurements were made of the frequency and sound pressure level from 73 ceramic whistling bottles blown by compressed air. The bottles represent nine pre‐Columbian civilizations which inhabited the north and central coasts and highlands of Peru during a 2000‐year time span from 500 B.C. to A. D. 1550. We have found that Peruvian whistling bottles group acoustically by culture. The bottles are generally regarded by anthropologists as utilitarian liquid containers with the whistle providing an amusing method of venting. We are suggesting an alternative interpretat... [More]
Comment icon #11 Posted by qxcontinuum 5 months ago
another vegan...
Comment icon #12 Posted by MissJatti 5 months ago
creepy yes! the creepiest sound in the world.... no

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