Haunted Audio Bug

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When inspecting the inner workings of the average personal computer nowadays, you will find that it is a rapid state machine. And where does it store its state? Yes, in its memory. Allow me to take you on an interesting journey.

To give some context for the computer where this occurred on; This computer has a dual boot with two arch-based linux distros. The journey starts out with me booting into one, having a voice-call with some friends, and shutting down this OS. After which i quickly switched to the other OS, also starting the same voice-call program. This is where stuff got weird.

The first stages

The program failed to start. This was not a big deal for me, but some other stuff started to break as well. All audio related programs acted differently. Pulseaudio, the sound server i currently use, was also broken.

After a while, about when my WM refreshed, even more broke down, as pulseaudio connects to the toolbar sound menu. By this time, it started to get way creepier. Not being able to play audio was not that disturbing; What was is how the audio devices behaved next:

Spooky scary skeletons

Small distorted segments of the earlier voice-call replayed for fractions of a second at a low volume. I did not notice it at first, and thought they were my thoughts for some bizarre reason.

Send shivers down your spine

And then, if it was not already lowering my sanity enough, some long delayed audio started playing. These were the last signs of life from pulseaudio.

Speak with such a screech

And it was loud, followed by even more disturbing replays of the earlier voice-call. One thing was clear: it was definitely my PC being the weirdo here.


Rebooting did not work, something else was up. The weird thing was that i did not change configuration files between boots. So what did fix the problem? The classic let it rest for a night worked well. But i did not have all night to wait, so instead i shutdown, unplugged the power and held the power button like it was the previous century again. What a once in a lifetime creepy runtime bug to experience.