Steam is haunted, keeps playing random creepy sounds from Amnesia

There you are idly using your computer when, suddenly, you begin to hear a series of terrifyingly ominous noises coming out of your speakers. Among them is the horrifically wet sound of someone being stabbed, the manic laugh of a woman (or is she sobbing?), and an atmospheric rumbling that evokes the creepy feeling of being deep, deep underground. These sounds repeat again and again until you finally identify the source: Somehow, Steam's music player (you didn't even know it had one, did you?) is randomly playing sound effects from horror classic Amnesia: The Dark Descent. It sounds like the beginning of some creepypasta internet myth, but this is exactly what's been haunting redditor 'YouNiqueUser' and others over on the Steam subreddit.

Yesterday, YouNiqueUser posted a thread on the Steam subreddit begging for help after twice returning to their computer to find it randomly playing that series of creepy Amnesia sound effects. "Anyone know what they are/or how to delete them?" They implored, including a screenshot of Steam's media player with a playlist of several inconspicuous sound files with names like "00_laugh - sounds". I've uploaded the tracks and embedded them below so you can hear them yourself.

"Once I came home after work and they were playing," YouNiqueUser explains. "Second time after I came back to PC after dinner. They even play with my PC sleeping/monitor black. Can't remember if my PC was hibernating in the instance I came home from work. I think it was as I was gone for 10 hours."

Understandably confused and a little creeped out, YouNiqueUser thought someone might've hacked into their computer and was playing a very cruel trick, but a virus scan turned up nothing and the thread quickly filled with comments from others experiencing the same strange phenomenon.

"Are you serious? It's been happening to me to, and its freaking me the fuck out," wrote CabbageMans. Others chimed in saying they were having the same problem but with different games ranging from Cities: Skylines to Dota 2. 

"I don't even own [Amnesia: The Dark Descent] and I got the files," says another redditor. "Don't know how, I'm too much of a chicken to play the game. It started last week for me, every now and again I here grunting and other ominous sounds."

What's weird though, is that no one knows exactly why this is happening. Steam has a lot of unnecessary and easy-to-miss features like its music player, which can be set to automatically import sound files from downloaded Steam games or other directories. The idea, presumably, is to make it easy to access the soundtracks of games you own. But the problem is that Steam's music library can't distinguish between a music and, say, the sound of a demon eviscerating a corpse (though I guess we all have a different preference for background music).

Above: A video of Steam playing a Franklin D. Roosevelt speech.

For years now, players have been complaining about a bug that causes Steam to automatically start playing random sound files loaded into its music library. My favorite is a thread from three years ago when some poor user's Steam client kept playing Franklin D. Roosevelt presidential speeches—though, god knows how they got into his Steam library. Curious, I set up my own music library to auto-import sound files from my games directory, which mysteriously turned up rock classics like Jimmy Hendrix's "All Along The Watchtower". I have no idea why this is in my Steam folder.

What's clear is that either Steam has a very weird bug or people somehow keep unintentionally triggering Steam's music player—but no one is exactly sure. That isn't much consolation if you, like YouNiqueUser, are not keen on randomly hearing terrifying ghost noises. The only way to be safe is to follow one redditor's advice and turn off automatic importing and clearing out Steam's music library.

Or just throw your whole computer out because it's obviously haunted.

Steven Messner

With over 7 years of experience with in-depth feature reporting, Steven's mission is to chronicle the fascinating ways that games intersect our lives. Whether it's colossal in-game wars in an MMO, or long-haul truckers who turn to games to protect them from the loneliness of the open road, Steven tries to unearth PC gaming's greatest untold stories. His love of PC gaming started extremely early. Without money to spend, he spent an entire day watching the progress bar on a 25mb download of the Heroes of Might and Magic 2 demo that he then played for at least a hundred hours. It was a good demo.