Is This Aerith’s Ghost In The Original Final Fantasy VII?

Is This Aerith’s Ghost In The Original Final Fantasy VII?

Aerith’s death (spoilers) in the original Final Fantasy VII was one hell of an emotional ordeal. And while fans scoured the game years after its release for a chance at finding a way to revive her, there was a way to catch a quick glimpse of her in the late game after she dies. Is it a ghost or a glitch? It’s a little hard to say.

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If you ask me, this is totally Aerith’s ghost. But there are some valid points that suggest it might just be a glitch. Either way, read on to learn more about this classic FF7 secret.

How to get the key to re-enter Midgar

Screenshot: Square Enix / Claire Jackson / Kotaku

To see Aerith’s (or Aeris’) ghost, you’re gonna have to go back to Midgar after Cloud has his little identity crisis and rejoins the crew. Of course you can’t just waltz into Midgar directly. If you do so, you’ll find the gate locked and a rando hangin’ around saying that they must’ve “dropped the key […] on that excavation tour.”

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That should sound familiar, because they’re referring to Bone Village, the place where you excavated the Lunar Harp before entering the Ancient Forest (you know, right when all the sad stuff starts to happen).

You’ll need to go back to Bone Village and order excavations for “Normal Treasure.”

Screenshot: Square Enix / Claire Jackson / Kotaku

It will almost certainly take a few tries (took me six trying to get it just now for screenshots). Some folks on the internet claim that they have better luck finding it by searching in the top area of the tent, but you can also find it on the lower level. Give it enough tries and you’re bound to find the “Key to Sector 5.”

Where to find Aerith’s/Aeris’ ghost in Midgar

Screenshot: Square Enix / Claire Jackson / Kotaku

Once you have the key, go ahead and re-enter Midgar. Once you’re in, you’ll be standing right next to the church where Aerith and Cloud met (try not to cry!). Enter the church and if you don’t move, you’ll see Aerith tending to flowers on the flower bed just ahead of you. Walk a few steps forward and she’ll blink out of existence.

Hey, I didn’t see her ghost. What gives?

For reasons unknown, you can actually disable Aerith’s ghost loading into the church without even knowing it. During Cloud’s flashback, if you chat with the owner of the Inn in Nibelheim and say “Let me know the situation,” it disables Aerith’s ghost.

No one knows for sure why this happens. Unfortunately, the flashback scene takes place very early in the game, so you’d likely need to go back and play it all over again if you accidentally disabled the ghost scene.Which, hey, replaying FF7 is hardly a bad thing anyway.

Is that really Aerith’s ghost?

There’s a spooky subtlety in the Aerith’s ghost “scene.” One of the kids you’ll find upon re-entering the church and seeing Aerith’s ghost will say “Hey, where’s the flower lady” if you chat with them. And digital archaeologists have unearthed some interesting tidbits about this ghost scene.

This thorough post on by user Shademp documents the details surrounding how the ghost scene is activated, how it’s deactivated, and what it all might mean. This page on FF7 Citadel covering the topic is also really good.

I’m of the opinion, as are many others, that this ghost scene is intentional. Firstly, you can see an option titled “After Aerith’s death” in the game’s dubugging program for activating this ghost scene. Secondly, there’s a bit of scrapped dialogue from an NPC that was removed from the game who, upon talking too after re-entering Midgar, says that they saw a woman disappear and that the church is haunted. To me, that’s an indication that Square Enix was at least thinking about the idea of the church being haunted and people seeing apparitions there.

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That said, as some have found out, there is unused Aerith dialogue found in the game’s files that would play after her death, indicating that previous versions of the story might’ve involved Aerith living in some way after the events in the City of the Ancients.

But whether it’s an intentional spooky and sad moment, or the result of some leftover code running amok, I happen to enjoy the idea of briefly seeing Aerith’s spirit for a brief moment. Plus, it kind of makes Aerith’s ghostly depictions in Advent Children and FF7 Rebirth a little more harmonious to the original.

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