Thanks, everyone. As of right now, for the first time I got a popup from malwarebytes that said a virus was detected, and I needed to restart. So I did so, and right now my Mac seems to be functioning ok.
The high pitched sound was crazy! Kind of a screech. Then a generic looking pop up came up (big white box, kind of like those "unexpected" things with Apple, where they ask you if you want to send this problem to apple--but it said something about a virus, and gave me a problem confirmation number type of thing. I figured it was legit, because then the Apple customer support site would then also come up. I did a brief chat the first time around with them, and they said since we have an apple certified guy who checks our computers, to notify him. He told me to download the malwarebytes, which I kept trying to do. I'll see now if it's truly fixed. This "bug" has come back like a swamp creature every time I think I must have it gone.
And, thanks for the Safari bug idea--I will try that next.