The horror genre is cluttered with hackwork, and imitations of hackwork--H.P. Lovecraft seems to have spawned a particularly virulent strain of the latter. However one of its subgenres, i.e. the ghost story seems to attract a better quality of writer--perhaps because a truly frightening tale of the returned dead is so difficult to write.
(Believe me, I've tried and after almost half a century of trying, have sold exactly one ghost story).
L. P. Hartley, who wrote "The Travelling Grave" and other great stories of the supernatural, described the ghost story as "certainly the most exacting form of literary art, and perhaps the only one in which there is almost no intermediate step between success and failure. Either it comes off or it is a flop."
Cox and Gilbert have collected mostly successes (and one or two flops) in "The Oxford Book of English Ghost Stories" and its companion volume, "The Oxford Book of Victorian Ghost Stories." If you suffer from what Virginia Woolf called "the strange human craving for the pleasure of feeling afraid," both of these volumes will satisfy. Each contains a good mix of familiar and lesser-known ghost stories.
Here is a sampling from 'English Ghost Stories':
"The Monkey's Paw" by W.W. Jacobs -- A horrible variant on 'Be careful what you wish for. It might just come true.' This is a sad, frightening story--maybe 'the' perfect tale of the supernatural.
"The Confession of Charles Linkworth" by E.F. Benson -- A telephone call from a hanged man.
"Man-Size in Marble" by E. Nesbit -- An overly sweet Victorian marriage comes to a tragic end on All Saints' Eve.
"The True History of Anthony Ffryar" -- When a fatal epidemic sweeps through Cambridge, a scholar witnesses an unusual Mass for the Dead: "'Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine,' chanted the hooded four; and one candle went out..."
"Smee" by A.M. Burrage -- A Christmas Eve game of hide-and-seek has one too many players.
"Bosworth Summit Pound" by L.T.C. Rolt -- A haunted English canal tunnel: "Not only was the narrow cavern of crumbling brickwork as cold and dark as a vault after the warmth and brilliance of the May sunshine, but water streamed from the roof and descended in cascades from the chimneys of the ventilation shafts. He had the utmost difficulty in keeping a straight course, for the damp atmosphere exhaled an evil-smelling mist which obscured the farther end of the tunnel..."
"Hand in Glove" by Elizabeth Bowen -- A young woman on the hunt for a titled husband is in desperate need of a clean pair of gloves.
"Bad Company" by Walter De La Mare -- A haunting encounter on the Underground.
"The Judge's House" by Bram Stoker -- A likeable young man seeks solitude to study for a mathematics exam.