Born in France, and raised in Colorado, Childress began his world travels at age nineteen in pursuit of his archaeological interests. In 1983 Childress relocated to Stelle, Illinois, a community founded by New Age writer Richard Kieninger, after Childress was given a book authored by Kieninger while touring Africa. Childress chronicled his explorations in his Lost Cities and Ancient Mysteries series of books, whose core concepts were influenced by the ideas of Kieninger.
While residing in Stelle, Childress began self publishing his own works and later other authors, which focus on presenting fringe scientific theories regarding ancient civilizations and little-known technologies, as well as establishing a travel business in partnership with Kieninger. In 1991, in the nearby town of Kempton, Illinois, Childress, along with historian and linguist Carl W. Hart, founded the World Explorers Club, a group that often travels to the places he writes about, and an affiliated magazine, World Explorer.
David Hatcher Childress has appeared on several television programs on NBC ("The Mysterious Origins of Man"), Fox Network (Sightings and Encounters), Discovery Channel, A&E, The History Channel, as a commentator on subjects such as the Bermuda Triangle, Atlantis, and UFOs.
Childress has been involved in two lawsuits regarding his publishing activities, one of which failed due to the expiry of a statute of limitations and the other, involving his company's publication of a master's thesis without permission, which was settled out of court.