AI-generated image Loab, with green hair and Joker makeup. Her eyes are closed.

A New AI Demon Has Dropped, and Her Name Is Loab

It's cool, I didn't need to sleep ever again.

AI-generated art is all the rage these days. Thanks to platforms like Craiyon (formerly Dall-E Mini), users can use artificial intelligence to create all sorts of weird and fascinating images by inputting text prompts. If you want to see an image of, say, Nosferatu in Ru Paul’s Drag Race or Darth Vader ice fishing, just feed that prompt into the AI and see what it comes up with.

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(Content warning: This post contains some horror elements and disturbing AI-generated faces.)

It turns out there are demons lurking in the ether of these image generators, though, and you never know when a new unspeakable horror is going to bubble out of the AI’s brain. See, for example, Loab, a terrifying hellspawn that appeared in one artist’s image generator and began dominating every image she managed to infect.

Why is she called Loab? Because she just is. Although she has the general shape of a middle-aged white woman with long brown hair, she’s marked by her distinctive bright red cheeks and black, doll-like eyes. I literally held off for a few days on pitching this story to my editors out of fear that writing about her would give me nightmares.

According to her creator, musician and artist Supercomposite, Loab was born when she started experimenting with negative weighted prompts—that is, prompts in which you tell the AI to create an image that’s the opposite of your text input. Supercomposite told the AI to make the opposite of Marlon Brando, and ended up with an image of garbled text against a skyline. She then told the AI to create the opposite of that image, to see if it would generate Marlon Brando. Instead, Loab emerged.

There’s no indication of where the image of the woman came from originally, but Supercomposite began combining her image with other pieces of AI-generated art to see what would happen. She found that any image that was combined with Loab would be completely taken over by Loab, no matter how far removed it was from Loab’s original image. Not only that, but Loab would sometimes disappear from images for a while … then randomly reappear later and begin dominating them again. Supercomposite ended up with a whole lineage of images in which Loab morphed and changed based on the different prompts and image combinations, but always remained recognizable and horrifying.

You can click on any of these tweets to see the entire thread of Loab images, although I wouldn’t recommend clicking on the ones marked “sensitive content,” since they’re truly nightmarish. For some reason, the AI associates Loab with extremely disturbing imagery, and more than one image gave me a physical startle response. Supercomposite calls Loab “the first cryptid of the latent space.”

As of this writing, it’s still not clear why the AI latches onto Loab’s face so easily and so persistently, or why the AI associates Loab with such disturbing imagery. In the meantime, though, there’s something you should know. Now, don’t look, don’t react, but she’s standing behind you right now. I said don’t look! That’s how she gets her power! It’s okay. You’re going to get through this. Just listen closely, follow my instructions, and you’ll OH GOD SHE’S GOT ME HEEEELP—

(featured image: Supercomposite)

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Julia Glassman
Julia Glassman (she/her) holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and has been covering feminism and media since 2007. As a staff writer for The Mary Sue, Julia covers Marvel movies, folk horror, sci fi and fantasy, film and TV, comics, and all things witchy. Under the pen name Asa West, she's the author of the popular zine 'Five Principles of Green Witchcraft' (Gods & Radicals Press). You can check out more of her writing at <a href=""></a>