In ancient China, women bind their feet for cosmetic reasons, resulting in them not able to walk without help and walking in a shuffling gait.
Possibly this can be modified such that people do it for less stupid reasons.
Disclaimer: This is NOT a racist remark since I'm Chinese myself and hence entitled to freely judge Chinese customs. NOT sexist either since I'm female as well.
What if some crazy wizard created an artifact that empowered rodents that touched it with one random supernatural power? Preferly right out of the pages of your favorite four-color. (But only one power!) This item does not convey any sort of intelligence boost.