clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Throwback Thursday: The Haunted Hallows of Notre Dame

Ghastly or Friendly Ghost?

Virginia Tech v Duke Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

Happy Halloween! I was going to spend this week’s Throwback Thursday post talking about the last Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Virginia Tech Hokies game. Or maybe even talk about the last time that Notre Dame played football on Halloween (vs. Temple in 2015). But I stumbled across this story on the College Football Hall of Fame site, and thought I’d share it instead. I think we’re all familiar with who George Gipp is, and Coach Knute Rockne’s famous “win one for the Gipper” speech. But this is part of the story I had not heard before, and so I thought I’d share it with you all today. I hope it’s sunny and warm wherever you are, because it definitely is not where I am. Get out your winter coats, kids. This is Halloween!

(Excerpt below from

Our story begins on the Notre Dame campus on a cold, pitch-black night in December 1920. After a late night out celebrating his final football game against Northwestern University , George Gipp, missed curfew and found the doors to his dormitory, Washington Hall locked. Rather than sneak in and risk getting caught, he decided to sleep outside. This decision likely led to his death as he contracted pneumonia and later died from complications. Not long after Gipp’s death, the students who lived in Washington Hall started to experience signs of a paranormal visitor. They reported hearing strange noises, like papers rustling under doors, music being played late at night, phantom footsteps and even horns going off without warning.

Gipp’s spirit lives on through football, as his story is one of the many Notre Dame football legends passed down over the years. On his death bed, Gipp made this famous plea to coach Knute Rockne, “I’ve got to go, Rock. It’s all right. I’m not afraid. Some time, Rock, when the team is up against it, when things are wrong and the breaks are beating the boys, tell them to go in there with all they’ve got and win just one for the Gipper. I don’t know where I’ll be then, Rock. But I’ll know about it, and I’ll be happy.”

From that moment on, Rockne used the story of the Gipper to rally the Fighting Irish. In the 12-6 upset of the previously undefeated Army team in 1928, Jack Chevigny, Notre Dame halfback, scored the tying touchdown at Yankee Stadium where he said, “that’s one for the Gipper”.

George Gipp, nicknamed “The Gipper”, was a halfback, quarterback and punter at the University of Notre Dame under legendary Hall of Fame coach Knute Rockne from 1917-1920. Gipp passed away at the young age of 25, but is remembered for his talent on the field and the famous speech to Rockne on his deathbed is immortalized on a plaque that still hangs in the locker room at Notre Dame Stadium. He was posthumously voted into the College Football Hall of Fame’s inaugural induction class in 1951 on December 14 at 3:27 a.m., in honor of the actual day and time of his death.

The Gipper’s spirt is still said to linger in the music hall on campus today and occasionally spook students, but there is little to fear, as he is considered a friendly ghost.

So, have you ever had a ghostly experience at Notre Dame? If you have had one ... do tell!

Cheers & GO IRISH!