A colorful instrument known as the Death Whistle is going viral around the internet, and is one of the most frightening new sounds of the year. The death whistle was shaped like a skull, and the sound might be considered similar to the wailing of a banshee or the scream of someone in the last throws of death.
According to the Daily Dot, the Aztec Death Whistle, or “silbato de la muerte,” was used during ceremonies, especially the day of the dead, and as a battle cry to terrify opponents. As the demonstrator above explains, the Aztecs would play hundreds of death whistles all at the same time for a big psychological effect on the opposing tribes.
The video was originally posted in 2013, but just recently was resurrected by Reddit’s r/videos.
MoviePilot gave an excerpt from historian Lewis Spence from his observations of the whistle in 1913.
“A youth was slain who for an entire year previously had been carefully instructed in the role of victim… He carried also the whistle symbolical of the deity [as Lord of the Night Wind, Tezcatlipoca], and made with it a noise such as the weird wind of night makes when it hurries through the streets.”
An important note for the video above. The audio editing that combines the sound of hundreds of Death Whistles with the sounds of horses is historically inaccurate, the Aztecs would not have horses to ride.
Still, the point is well taken, lots of death whistles would have been hundreds of times more effective.
The video below gives another demonstration with a green jade death whistle.
[Image via Youtube]