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"The Sims 4" Ghosts Guide: Death, Spirits, and the Netherworld

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"The Sims 4" is copyrighted by Electronic Arts Inc. Images used for educational purposes only.

"The Sims 4" is copyrighted by Electronic Arts Inc. Images used for educational purposes only.

The Ghosts of Sims 4

Staples of the franchise since the first installment, ghosts are to The Sims as air is to breathing. They’ve always been around, lurking down darkened corridors and frightening the unwary, and with an update, ghosts have been carted (for free!) to The Sims 4. How have they fared in the transition to this new, emotionally charged landscape? Let’s find out.

How to Get Ghosts in Sims 4

In order to get a ghost sim, you must first kill a sim, whether they’re an active member of your household or not (though it’s a fair bit easier to kill a sim over which you have some control). There are plenty of ways to accomplish this, and depending on the method of death, your sim will turn out a little differently when they come back as a ghost. This article will help you off one of your sims. (The easiest way to kill one off is to have a cow plant and simply not feed the thing, but that requires acquiring a cow plant, which is easier said than done.)

Once one of your sims dies or is in the process of dying, the Grim Reaper will show up to process their soul. You have the option of bringing in a living sim to plead for their life, and if you’re successful, the sim will not die. For obvious reasons, you don’t want to do this if you have a ghost. Keep your other sims away from the Grim Reaper until he’s finished with his business.

Release Spirit to Netherworld

After a sim has died, they will leave behind a tombstone (if their remains are outdoors) or an urn (if their remains are indoors). Your sims can Release Spirit to Netherworld by clicking on either of these objects. Again, don’t do this. As far as I can tell, you’ll lose the ability to create a ghost from that sim forever, as their grave marker will vanish.

A pair of ghosts getting friendly in "The Sims 4." Note the telltale green colouring, indicating that this is a Happy interaction.

A pair of ghosts getting friendly in "The Sims 4." Note the telltale green colouring, indicating that this is a Happy interaction.

Rising Again

Ghosts that are not a part of your household are inactive for most of the day. You won’t see a ghost until the lights go out for the night (roughly 11 - 12), and even then, there’s a chance the ghost will not appear. You pretty much just have to wait around and hope for the ghost to show up. Once it does, it will appear besides its grave marker, heralded by some spooky music.

Ghosts are not initially under your control, even if they were a part of your household when they were alive. Similar to other sims, ghosts will wander about your property, doing as they please - and often causing mischief. Ghosts seem to have a propensity for pursuing activities that relate to how they died, so a sim that was electrocuted will mess with electronics, a sim that starved to death will make lots of food, a sim that died from being too angry will yell at people … you get the idea. Ghosts have special actions which allow them to scare other sims, so a ghost left to its own devices may prove something of a terror. Ghosts disappear in the morning.

Want to control that ghost? This is easy enough. Simply engage the ghost in prolonged conversation with one of your sims. In order to receive the option to Invite to Household, one of your active sims must max out their friendship with the ghost. Pursue the option once it appears, and, assuming the ghost accepts, you have a new sim (or an old sim returned) in your household. Huzzah! (For obvious reasons, you can’t do this in a household that’s already full.)

A ghost reading a book in "The Sims 4." Ghosts can learn skills as readily as living sims.

A ghost reading a book in "The Sims 4." Ghosts can learn skills as readily as living sims.

Ghosts vs. People

Ghosts are a little different than normal sims, though not by a whole lot. They still have Needs, they can get jobs, they can make food and play instruments and watch TV … they can do pretty much everything other sims can do. That said, there are a few additional things ghosts can do above and beyond standard sims:

  • Ghosts can walk through walls. Sometimes they’ll do this; sometimes they won’t. The same goes for objects.
  • Ghosts receive small graphical changes depending on how they died. A ghost that was electrocuted sparks a bit, while a ghost that died of hunger will have a small vapour cloud floating off of its stomach.
  • Ghosts have special actions not afforded other sims. For example, they can Possess inanimate objects, and they can perform certain scary actions on other sims. They also gain the Talk About Death conversation option. Depending on the sim, these options may not go over well.
  • Ghosts wear their emotions on their sleeves … and faces … and legs … and everywhere else. A ghost’s body colour matches its current emotion, changing when they change moods. A Good ghost is grey; an Angry ghost is red; a Happy ghost is green; an Embarrassed ghost is yellow.
  • Ghosts can’t die, for obvious reasons. That said, they can be Returned to the Netherworld by interacting with their gravestone/urn. This will effectively destroy the ghost, removing them permanently from the game.
  • Ghosts can still Woo Hoo with other sims, as well as their fellow ghosts. As far as I can tell, however, ghosts cannot have children. If you find out otherwise, let me know in the comments.
  • Though they disappear during the day when uncontrolled, active ghosts will appear at all times of the day.

In short, ghosts are basically normal sims … just a teensy bit better. (Aside from the whole baby thing.) They make for interesting additions to otherwise normal families, and the whole mourning-over-dead-relatives issue is much less troublesome with ghosts around. Have fun!


Celina on May 06, 2019:

In sims 4 one of my sims died of old age and i didn't release his spirit and once appeared in the day and talked to my sim that was still alive. I read this because i wanted to learn how to control his spirit

Nayzcx on July 26, 2017:

I realeased accidentally my sims spirit, but I still have his tombstone. Can he come back? :( Pleasee I really like that sim

Borsh on October 21, 2016:

Ya I agree

Matt Bird (author) from Canada on October 08, 2014:

Do you have mods or cheats active? I'm pretty certain ghost sims aren't supposed to have babies at this point. I've tried, like, five times, and I haven't installed any mods.

Also this.

Sam on October 08, 2014:

Ghosts can have children, my first ghost just knocked up his fiancée, lol