For the Oblivion spell, see Detect Life.

Detect Life (Skyrim) is an adept Alteration spell in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim that enables the caster to see nearby living creatures, but not undead, machines, or daedra, through walls.


  • The Detect Life spell allows the user to distinguish between friendly and hostile characters through the color of the mist it uses to show their presence — hostile characters are red, and friendly characters are light blue.
    • Note that the blue mist surrounding what appears to be a friendly character/creature may become red mist as the Dragonborn approaches and the character/creature becomes hostile on sight.
  • Useful for stealth-oriented classes, as it can be used to find out how many foes are in the next room, then calculate an efficient plan of attack.
  • Can be extremely efficient at raising Alteration, as it increases the amount of experience gain the more targets it is able to see. For example, seeing one person may take a couple of minutes to increase, while seeing two people will cut that in half. So to get the most of this spell, cast it in a major city such as the Whiterun or Riften markets.

Spell tome



  • Weight: 1 WeightIcon
  • Value: 332 GoldIcon
  • See Spell Tome for a complete table of spell tomes, their descriptions, and their values.


  • Obtained from Stalleo after completing the quest Infiltration at Treva's Watch.
  • May be found in Labrynthian in the first chamber.
  • May appear as random loot, and might randomly appear available for purchase from the following:

Start a Discussion Discussions about Detect Life (Skyrim)

  • Detect Life language swap?

    3 messages
    • The only thing i can think of that would change the language so selectively like that is a mod, i installed a follower that changed Arcadia...
    • Oh, thanks a lot AzuraKnight. I was using the Succubus race mod and that's what had changed it. I appreciate your help, man.
  • Detect life Bug

    • I decided that I should go and learn the detect life spell for my mage to level alteration. So I did the treva's watch method and got ...
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