Sunday, August 19, 2012

Mooncussers . . . the land pirates of Cape Cod

Sleeping in a house along New England's Cape Cod seashore with a window opening on to the dunes, nightly listening to the moan of the fog horn, brought to mind the mooncussers, the land pirates of Cape Cod.  Land pirates, you ask?  How can that be?  Dastardly deeds were indeed committed along the rocky coast of New England.    Living in the early days along the Atlantic Ocean,  in a time when lighthouses were few and far between, mooncussers had no need to go to sea to eek out a living.  Mooncussers simply awaited a moonless night, a night when ships were headed into port,  stood on the rocky outcroppings so common to the New England shore, waving lanterns, providing a light in the darkness, a light which would lead ships to certain destruction, a light which would lead mooncussers to certain wealth.  And why the name mooncusser?  If the moon was shining, the ships could circumvent the rocks and arrive in safe harbor, thus depriving the land pirates of certain wealth, and providing the mooncussers with good reason to cuss the moon.


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