Born in the Piney Woods of east Texas, Michael Mayes has had a lifelong interest in the strange, unusual, and mysterious. Growing up in Big Thicket country, he heard tales of the ghost lights, wildmen, and black panthers said to haunt the woods in his corner of southeast Texas.

As an adult, Michael has endeavored to get to the bottom of some of these mysteries. He currently serves as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the North American Wood Ape Conservancy (NAWAC) and actively participates in their efforts. Michael is likely best known for his research on the legendary black panthers believed by many rural residents of Texas and the American South to roam the swamps, marshes, woods, and bottomlands of this country. His book Shadow Cats: The Black Panthers of North America (Anomalist Books) thoroughly explores the phenomenon and has garnered positive reviews across the board.

Michael is also the author of Patty: A Sasquatch Story, a self-published children's book based on the the Patterson-Gimlin film footage of a putative sasquatch captured in October of 1967. The book features beautiful illustrations by Arkansas-based artist, Robert Swain.

Michael has been featured on numerous podcasts and radio programs. He appeared on the A&E Network program The Lowe Files and has written for San Antonio television station KSAT's animated "Haunted South Texas Folklore" feature series.

Michael explores the myths, folklore, and legends of Texas and North America on his Texas Cryptid Hunter blog. The blog has received more than two million page views since its inception.

Michael has worked as a teacher of Texas History and football/basketball coach in the Killeen ISD for nearly 30 years. He has retired from his coaching duties and hopes that decision will free up more time for writing.