In Whiterun there are two dead bodies that never seem to despawn. They are the cultists from the start of the Dragonborn DLC. I know I could just move them out of sight, but I have some weird feeling knowing that they are still there. Is there anyway to force the corpses to despawn permanently? I'm on PC, so I do have access to the console.


This error, and many more, are fixed up in the Unofficial Patch series for the Dragonborn DLC:

UDBP Fixes Dragonborn (DLC2MQ01) lost a property for cleaning up the cultist bodies after the ambush is over. DLC2WE09 also needed to be added for shutdown. (Bug #14121)

For a complete list of the change logs you can go to the change log. This patch is available through many sites like Nexus but is not available any longer through the Steam Workshop (this is due to restrictions in the Content Creator). I -highly- recommend getting comfortable installing the mod via the Nexus Mod Manager (simple easy to use interface that handles installing and uninstalling the files for you) as the Unofficial Patches are almost a requirement to play Skyrim bug free.

  • What about console versions?
    – GnomeSlice
    Sep 25 '14 at 2:25
  • @GnomeSlice There are no mods for Console versions of Skyrim so the only hope is that Bethesda patches the bugs. I do not think this is likely given their track record though. Also the original question stated this was on PC. I am unsure if this bug even exists on the console.
    – James
    Sep 25 '14 at 18:40

James' answer is correct for the OP's specific situation, but with the following command you can completely (not only visually) get rid of anything in-game:

Use the MarkForDelete command

[MarkForDelete] marks an object for actual deletion: when the system does its normal clean up, the object will be deleted, and its script will no longer be active.

To do so,

  • get the unwanted object directly in view;
  • go into the in-game console (using the key above the Tab key, usually ~ on QWERTY keyboards);
  • select the body or other unwanted object,
  • type in the disable command,
  • immediately followed by markfordelete.

This will get rid of the object completely, once the cell it's in unloads.

MarkForDelete allows a script to set the delete flag on a disabled reference, which places the reference in a queue for deletion a few frames later. It will not work on enabled references.

Whereas the disable command merely hides it from view, without unloading it:

When an object is disabled, it remains in memory and continues to process scripts.

Quotations from Creationkit.com


Put them in deep water. Eventually they will disappear with the changing of the days. If not out of sight out of mind


You can remove any unwanted object with the console.

  1. Make a backup save
  2. Open the console (the default key is the key left of the 1 key).
  3. Click on the body (or any object you want to be removed) so the ID is shown in the console.
  4. Type disable

This removes the object permanently. Be careful not to use it on anything, that is still needed.

  • will try this when i get home, this is a lot simpler than @James answer.
    – freebol96
    Sep 25 '14 at 12:04
  • @freebol96 I recommend clicking on the Change Log link in my question to see all of the other bugs that patch also fixes with the Dragonborn DLC.
    – James
    Sep 25 '14 at 18:42

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