For decades, archaeologists thought the ancient Aztec Death Whistles were nothing more than disturbing skull-shaped toys for little Aztec kids. They studied how they looked, how they were made, and where they were found. But nobody thought to blow into one. When they did, they found that the creepy clay objects made a spine-chilling noise described by one archaeologist as “the scream of a thousand corpses”. Yeah, they’re that creepy.
The ancient Aztec Death Whistle is made from clay and is typically shaped like (or decorated as) a human skull. The noise they make, which sounds like thousands of people shrieking, is at the high end of human hearing. They were first associated with Aztec death rituals after two samples were found in the skeletal hands of a sacrificed 20-year-old male in a temple at Tlatelolco. Scientists are unsure what they were used for but some believe they were used in the sacrifices of slaves or to create a “battle cry” to frighten enemies.
Check out the sound of an Aztec Death Whistle below.