While I knew that lighthouses have often come under attack during various wars in the United States. I had never heard of the Mooncussers. Legend has it that some attacked light keepers and put out the light.
They would also lure vessels onto the dark coastline. Armed with a “Judas Lantern,” these shoreline pirates would situate themselves along the coast, directly behind dangerous rocks.
They would gyrate a lantern to resemble a swaying ships lantern. Seeing the light and thinking another ship had found safe harbor, the deceived captain would stir in that direction and become aground. In rocky seas, the ship would break up and its cargo would be stolen by Mooncussers. Some claim that if the sea was calm, Mooncussers would beat or kill the sailors.
America’s Atlantic Coast Lighthouses by Jeremy D’entremont