It’s been described as the ‘scariest sound in the world’ – somewhere between a spooky gust of whistling wind and ‘the scream of a thousand corpses’.
Now, experts have recreated the noise of the Aztec Death Whistle, by building a new version of the legendary instrument with a 3D printer.
They created their new whistles based on the design of the skull-shaped original, which was found with a skeleton in Mexico in the late 1990s.
It’s thought the skull-shaped whistle may have been used by Aztecs before they were killed in ceremonies to honour the god of wind, Ehecatl.
In the Aztec creation myth, two gods gathered in a sacrificial fire and became the sun and moon, but were immobile until Ehecatl blew on them.
‘This has been deemed the most terrifying sound in the world,’ says presenter James J. Orgill.
‘Believe it or not, this is not a human scream.
‘The sound that the death whistle makes innately strikes fear into your heart.’
It was back in 1999 that the original Aztec Death Whistle was found held in the hand of a headless skeleton during the excavation of an Aztec temple in Mexico City.
‘Archaeologists first thought that this must be some sort of toy and they didn’t think much about it,’ says Orgill in the new video.
‘It wasn’t until 15 years later for some reason a scientist blew into the hole in the top of it and this is the sound that came out.
‘It was a startling discovery because it sounded like a screaming human.’
Although the exact purpose of the death whistle has been lost to history, there are several leading theories.