MacVim and Merlin suddenly misbehaving

Since a few days I’ve noticed weird behavior: error messages get printed inline intermingled with the buffer contents.

The (* E .. comments are (non-LSP) Merlin error messages which until now have appeared in the status window. They appear in the buffer but are not actually made part of the buffer.

I tried reverting recent .vimrc changes but that did not help. Has anyone experienced something similar?

This turned out to be no fault of Merlin at all. The ALE linting plugin for Vim apparently introduced a new virtual-text error highlighting mode which is on by default and produces these inline error messages. Too intrusive for OCaml type errors but maybe useful otherwise. Sorry for the noise.