Skip to main content

Book Review: Shadow Cats: The Black Panthers of North America by Michael Mayes

At the end of January, Anomalist Books published a new title from cryptid investigator Michael Mayes, who runs the Texas Cryptid Hunter blog. The book is Shadow Cats: The Black Panthers of North America, and, as the title suggests, it is an examination of sightings of anomalous big cats in the United States, primarily focused on the American South and the author's home state of Texas.

Mayes starts off his book by going over the anecdotal history of "black panthers" and the history of the term. He notes that, in the South, the term "panther" is always used to describe black cats, and differentiates from normal-colored pumas or jaguars. Several chapters are also devoted to historical and contemporary sightings and reports of large black cats in the American South.

Chapters 6-10 examine the possible suspects. Mayes goes over the biology and diversity of several cat species that could possibly be misidentified by witnesses as black panthers. These cats include pumas, jaguars, jaguarundis, escaped/released exotic cats, like tigers and lions, and possible large feral cats.

After going over the suspects, Mayes goes into the science behind melanism, which causes cats and other animals to be all black in color. This is done to see if melanism occurs in any of the species Mayes thinks may be behind (part of) the black panther mystery.

Two chapters are devoted to photographs of possible black panthers and hair samples Mayes received from someone who claimed they hit one of the cats with their car. Mayes also asked several experts of big cats about what they think of the black panther mystery and what animals could cause the sightings.

To know what Mayes concluded on the mystery of anomalous black panthers of North America, you'll have to check out the book yourself. This is one of the only books I know of that examines the North American black panther mystery as a whole, and it is an excellent resource to those interested in the subject.

You can get Shadow Cats here.


Popular posts from this blog

The Burrunjor - A Present-Day Australian Dinosaur?

Australia is said to be home to a variety of cryptid creatures, from the aquatic Bunyip, the man-like Yowies and Wakkis, and the thylacine. There is another, however, that could be considered stranger than all the others. Why? Because its said to be something that should have gone extinct 65 million years ago!

The creature in question is called the Burrunjor, and is said to be a surviving dinosaur. Now, before you think that there is no possible way the Burrunjor could be real, remember that there are sightings and stories of other dinosaur-like creatures from around the world - for example, the mokele-mbembe, kongamato, and others in Africa, "Mounatin Boomers" in the U.S., the Partridge Creek Monster, and more.

Over the years there have been many sightings and stories of the Burrunjor in Australia, including this one from Rex and Heather Gilroy from the 1970s:

"In 1978, a Northern Territory bushman and explorer, Bryan Clark, related a story of his own that had taken pl…

Some Thoughts on Alaska Monsters: Bigfoot Edition

So far, two episodes of Alaska Monsters: Bigfoot Edition have aired. Here are some of my thoughts on the show.

First off, let's start with the team, the Midnight Sons. There are a few new members on the team this season. The old leader, Little Bear, is gone, and now Crusty (the guy with the bear claw in his beard) is leader of the team. Other members are: Dudley (new guy), the team "forensic expert," Todd, the "trap engineer," Bulldog (new guy), the "survival expert," Rhett, the "greenhorn" (rookie), and of course Face, the "veteran tracker."

Compared to the AIMS Team of Mountain Monsters, Crusty is Trapper, Todd is Willy, Rhett is Buck, Bulldog would probably be Huckleberry, Dudley would probably be Jeff, and Face would be Wild Bill.

I haven't seen the first episode, "Bigfoot of the Arctic Circle: Siberian Giant," but I did watch episode two, "Bigfoot of Denali: Wind Walker" last Saturday. I actually though…

Mountain Monsters - Coming Back in 2018?

Destination America's Mountain Monsters was a huge hit when it premiered in 2013. It's had five seasons through last year.

Season 3 started a "Bigfoot Edition" and season 4 introduced a "rogue team." Last season focused entirely on this "rogue team" and ended with really no conclusion.

Over the past 2 Saturdays, some old season 2 episodes of Mountain Monsters have been playing in the evenings. Could this be a sign that the show might be back for another season this year, or does it have no meaning at all?

If the show does come back, where can they go? Last season made absolutely no sense at all and the whole thing was pretty stupid. If it does come back, I think they should go back to just monster hunting like they did in the first two seasons. Once they went to just "Bigfoot Edition" things went downhill quick.