A town has a festival every year in the dead of winter. The festival of birds. The towns folk dress in feathery robes and beaked masks and dance and frolic in the belief that the changes of the seasons are controlled by the presence of birds. According to tradition, the festival tricks Spring into coming early because the birds have returned.
An alchemist enchanted his equipment to produce even more powerful alchemical compounds, potions and the like. Unfortunately, it is not well-known that he had different sets of equipment for different processes: If the wrong set of gear is used, the result will invariably fail to function. It's not a cursed item, just something that's hard to figure out.