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Detect Life is a Mysticism magic effect in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion that creates a purple mist around anything alive within the spell radius. Only the caster can see the purple mist, and enemies do not notice the light around the player when the spell is being cast.
Detect Life is very useful for thieves, as it can identify anything alive regardless of how dark the locale. The mist is visible through walls, trees, and other obstacles as long as the subject is in the same "cell."