It’s one thing not to like a certain type of instrument, like a Tuba or even an Oboe. But what about something different? Something ancient, from hundreds [if not, thousands] of years old.. something like a death whistle! Described as the “scream of a thousand corpses”, this “death whistle” sounds like the cry of the undead, or at the very least, the torment of a human being burned alive! Oddly enough, these skull shaped whistles were actually discovered over 20 years ago by Archaeologists, but, were figured to be toys for the Aztec children. Even if they were looked on to be just “toys”, most of the studies behind them focused on how they looked, rather than what they could possibly sound like. However, with the fearsome sound of the whistle discovered, it’s gaining notice of scientists, other archeologists, and historians everywhere!
Roberto Velazquez, a man who has spent several years trying to recreate the sounds of his ancestors, has claimed that the Aztecs played the ‘Whistles Of Death’ just before they were sacrificed to the Gods. This way, the sound of the death whistle would help the deceased, as they journey into the Underworld. Other Aztec tribes would use the whistle and it’s terrifying sounds as psychological warfare, as a way to scare their enemies at the start of battle.. [and based on the sound of the whistle – I can see why this was effective!]
Before this discovery, archeologists figured the existence of other types of noisemakers that were used by the Aztecs: which were made of clay, turkey feathers, sugar cane, frog skins and other materials – with each one serving a different, yet specific, purpose. Conch shells, for instance, were used at the beginning of ceremonies, while hunters used animal-shaped instruments to produce sounds that lured deer, and other wild animals. Medical scientists also believe that the Aztecs may have used sounds as a way to cure illnesses. But in the end, it is the Death Whistle that generates the strongest reactions, mainly due to the creepy sound it makes when blown into!
Not surprisingly though, getting an authentic Death Whistle is pretty damn unlikely – but if you wanted, you can always hear what one sounds like thanks to YouTube musician Xavier Quijas Yxayotl. He actually uploaded a video of himself blowing into the Death Whistle, even warning people that it isn’t for the faint of heart! Before exampling it, he says:
“We call this the ‘death whistle’ that the Aztecs used for special ceremonies – for Day of the Dead celebrations, and also they use it when they have a war, when they fight with other tribes. They would play over a hundred instruments, a hundred death whistles, marching to cause a big psychological effect to the enemy..”
If I still have you reading up to this point, and you’re genuinely curious – I’ve actually included the video of Yxayotl blowing into the Death Whistle below: as previously stated, the sound it makes isn’t for everyone so watch at your own risk! It’s probably the most terrifying sound, especially since it was used to effect enemies on a psychological level!
So there you have it, the most terrifying instrument I’ve ever seen, It’s no Tuba or Oboe, but it’s something more terrifying: the Aztec Death Whistle.
THANKS FOR READING