"Many strange things may be seen in the Great Swamps, not all real. But I tell you, there was a ship and it was real! Well it was old and all sails torn and had many holes in the hull... but anyway it was hundreds of miles from the Sea! How it came to be there, I can only wonder..."
(If it is not a hallucination, may be inhabited by wererats.)
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)