While I am a sucker for a good ghost story, it took me way too long to see the original adaptation of Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House, known as The Haunting. This is a ripping good movie that answers the old question (how do you visualize a ghost?) by not showing a ghost at all. Things go bump in the night (or slam, as the case may be), items get vandalized when no one is around, spiral staircases are made to collapse...it really is up to you to decide if the house is haunted or just a drafty nightmare.
The story centers on a group of parapsychologists entering the abandoned Hill House mansion to see if they can contact any spirits. There is Eleanor, the lonely spinster with a bizarre bond to the house, Theo the psychic lesbian, the easy-going current owner Luke and Dr. Markway, who is leading the investigation. Besides everyone wanting to get into Eleanor's rather boring pants, I liked the way the characters interact here. They are bringing their own traumas and history to the assignment.
There is a modern remake with Liam Neeson and Owen Wilson but it is far more explicit with the ghosts and the sexual themes that play just beneath the surface of the original. I would recommend seeking out the original if you like a good scare.