Ever since he could remember, Amos Spitz wanted to be a ghost. When he was five years old, his father, the Stuttgart banker Alfred Spitz, punished him severely because the child chased away customers by pacing the bank in a white cushion cover and emitting high-pitched squeals. This early vocation was an inexhaustible source of family discussions. “Let him be whatever he wants!” his mother used to yell at her husband when she saw him trying to coerce the child into banking or any other profession that didn’t require howling. Mrs. Spitz knew what a frustrated true vocation was: she had had to ignore the calling to be an albatross because she didn’t have the ability to fly. For this reason, seeing her son’s innate talent for scaring, she supported him unconditionally and even gave him a set of white sheets with eye holes. Mr. Spitz, by contrast, attributed his son’s odd leanings to the grip of dementia praecox or to drinking or perhaps both. When Amos turned thirteen, however, it was impossible to continue forcibly preventing him from covering himself with a white sheet. He began to earn a living by frightening people for the Mob. Then he visited a Scottish castle where he learned to “pop up”. It took him long to learn the ins and outs of the way to suddenly appear out of nowhere and then disappear without his pants falling off. But over time he got the hang of it, finally managing to appear and disappear at will and even walk through walls without suffering too severe a concussion. In short, he became a professional and began to pop up in the most unlikely places, such as the International Socialist Congress, Edward VII’s coronation or the Leipzig Trade Fair.

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