Psychological warfare is an art of war that's almost as intimidating as actually fighting battles.
War chants, battle cries, and sounds of war machines can unnerve any warrior on opposing sides. This whistle is one of the most sinister and intimidating parts of the Mexica culture. Just listen to it for the creeps.
Psychological Warfare Mexico
The brutal psychological war is almost as old as the war itself. Vlad Tepes, who inspired the mythical Dracula, left the paths strewn with impaled human beings. The Uzbek leader Tamerlán erected pyramids with the heads of his victims. Genghis Khan was more refined since he only placed dolls of men on horses so that the enemy believed that the attacking army was bigger.
More than ten thousand kilometers away from these cruel European and Asian artists of psychological warfare, the Aztecs also developed their tactics, in the form of a murky whistle that made them sound before engaging in combat and mortuary ceremonies.
Presumably, the "sound engineers" Aztecs went through hours of trial and error to achieve a whistle design that produces this creepy noise that sounds like a mixture between the howls of a cat in heat under torture and a person who is being skinned alive.
The prehispanic whistles have their specialists and this Aztec archaeological piece shaped skull is now sold as a souvenir, is classified as a wind instrument because the sound is produced by vibrating air inside the instrument.
The whistle of death is also called Ehecachichtli, by Ehecatl, god of the wind in Aztec mythology. The Aztecs believed that Ehécatl was able to give life to inert things, the opposite of his whistle meant to leave any living beings stiff with fear.
Just imagining a load of a thousand Aztec fighters led by the famous warriors « Eagle » and « Jaguar », each blowing his whistle before a battle gives goosebumps.
Listening to the grim howl of human pain, enemy warriors must have been scared motionless before the fight could begin. The Aztecs defeated one after another kingdoms and dominions that opposed them in their way towards the future Tenochtitlán.
In many cultures, it is also believed that death whistles were used in mortuary ceremonies, to create music of the transit to the other world. It is possible that those condemned to death have the added punishment of blowing the whistle themselves.
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