This happened about 1995, I was 33 at the time. We lived in Tampa Florida in an apartment and my sister and her kids lived in the apartment right across the porch. Her kids ran back and forth between both places most of the time. I would babysit them when she and her husband went out, sometimes even over night.
Once the kids were in bed I would hear dishes clanking, like someone was putting the dishes away or moving them around. At first I thought my sister and her husband came back early, but once I was down stairs I saw no one. I went to the kitchen it was empty as well. I sat and watched T.V., and shrugged it off.
Later that night at about 11pm, I was snacking on chips and watching a story on T.V. I stopped because I smelled an odor. I sniffed trying to find out where it was coming from. I went upstairs and the smell got stronger. I began to panic I didn't want something to be on fire and I still couldn't find anything. Then the odor disappeared, I couldn't smell it any more. I went back downstairs but I was nervous and kept sniffing every once in a while to make sure that I didn't smell it again.
At about midnight my sister came home. I told her about the noises and the smell. She and her husband looked at each other and then said it was nothing. And I was quickly shown the door.
A few weeks later they asked if I could babysit her kids again. I said yes, not thinking about what happened last time. They said they would be out until about 2am this time. It was a weekend so I let the kids stay up a little past their bed time. At about 10pm I put them to bed and settled down on the couch and dozed off.
I woke up to the sound of dishes clanking together again in the kitchen. I got up and turned on the lights but no one was there. The hair on the back of my neck stood on end. I was unsure what to do. Then I smelled the odor again but this time I recognized the smell as cigarette smoke. I checked on the kids they were sleeping. I looked outside thinking someone was smoking on the porch, but again no one was there.
I sat on the couch and took a deep breath and tried to make sense out of what I was experiencing. I took a quick glance up the stairs and I froze. Standing at the top landing was a shadow of a man, then the smell hit me and I could see the tip of the cigarette glow red as he took a puff. Every thing was a shadow except the red tip. He looked in my direction then disappeared. I quickly checked on the kids and sat waiting for my sister and her husband to come home. I was trembling and kept looking up the stairs just waiting for him to come back.
When they came home I told them what I saw and this time I demanded they tell me what was going on. They said it was a ghost. It doesn't hurt anyone and all I have to do when I hear the dishes or see him is to tell him to stop and to leave. I asked them why they didn't tell me that before. They said they hoped that I wouldn't notice him. I was mad for a while at them but three months later they moved due to a job closer to where they wanted to live. I would sit on the porch at night and sometimes I would look up at the window. Sometimes I would see the shadow and his red tipped cigarette looking back. I moved a year later.