io9.com the Frugal GM found this excellent Smithsonian article on the Basilisk.
The article goes into some of the background on the Basilisk story and then goes into detail on a well-documented 1587 Warsaw Basilisk hunt.
The article is great fodder for a game session and it even gives a possible use for a Basilisk corpse. Evidently it was possible to make something called "Spanish Gold" by mixing Basilisk Powder (Ground up Basilisk), Copper, Vinegar, and Human blood.
There are a lot of possibilities here, and all from a historical reference.
I bet there are a lot of similar golden ideas (pardon the pun) from history.