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.
A golden skull contains the spirit of a person who has been magically entrapped in an ethereal undead status by an ancient ritual. The person was boiled alive in a golden mixture until nothing remained of him except the bones, now covered by a golden layer. Whoever has these golden bones, controls the spirit and can command it. It can assault the living with wind and storm. Manipulate objects and communicate with the living. (Inspired by Anne Rice, Servant of the Bones)