Raniere Debunked; Whoppers Challenged; 100 yard dash, results of take home IQ test questioned

There is a 26 year old article published in the Times Union on a then 27 year old man named Keith Raniere.

In it Mr. Raniere makes several claims. Some of them appear to be, how can we say it delicately? –  the word ‘lies’ is too brusque!

Somewhat dubious- claims.

Which begs the question: how do people follow a Vanguard to find the truth, if they found out he lied to them?

In this Sunday, June 26, 1988 Times Union article, entitled,  “TROY MAN HAS A LOT ON HIS MIND IQ TEST PROVES WHAT MANY SUSPECTED: HE’S ONE IN 10 MILLION, Irene Gardner writes of Raniere:

“He’s a member of Mega, a high-IQ society with a minimum requirement at the one-in-a-million level. Actually, the 27-year-old Troy resident is in an even more exclusive category. By answering correctly all but two questions on a 48-question, self- administered test, Raniere moved up to the rarified one-in-10-million level. To qualify for membership in the Mega Society, aspirants must answer correctly at least 45 questions. According to the society, that corresponds to an IQ of 176 or more…..

“….The mastermind behind (Mega) is Ronald K. Hoeflin, philosopher and librarian, who has made an avocation of forming increasingly more elite clubs for geniuses such as himself (he has an IQ of 150).

“…. Six years ago (1982) (Hoeflin) founded Mega. After it grew to include 26 members – and lost some of its exclusivity – he restructured it to include only two persons, Eric Hart of Long Island and Marilyn vos Savant of Missouri. Raniere is the most recent member….

“Raniere says …. By age 2 he could spell the word “homogenized” from seeing it on the milk carton. …. he had an understanding of subjects such as quantum physics and computers by age 4….

“He has the physique of an athlete, which he is. He was East Coast Judo champion at age 12, tied with the state record for the 100 yard-dash, is an avid skier, swimmer and wind surfer. He says he plays seven musical instruments…

“He also rides a unicycle and likes to juggle – not necessarily at the same time – but one gets the impression that this amazing young man, who requires only two to four hours of sleep, could do both – if he put his mind to it.

“The questions aspiring members of the Mega Society have to answer are real brain busters. Raniere says they took him two weeks.

“‘There’s no enforceable time limit. Some people take up to a year to answer the questions. It’s suggested you limit yourself to no more than one month,’ he explains.

“Unlike with some tests, applicants are encouraged to use such reference aids as dictionaries, thesauri and pocket calculators, he says…..

“Assistance from others, however, is prohibited. ‘But,’ says the young genius, ‘who could give you assistance?’

“Who, indeed.”

This silly article cuts at the very heart of the Raniere legend-mystique – bullshit:  It is all based on his own stories and to a limited degree those of his confederates.

Let’s get this straight, a librarian (who also calls himself a philosopher) with an alleged 150 IQ (which is not considered genius) makes up his own super IQ test – a 50 question test – which unlike standard IQ tests which are taken under supervision (so there is no cheating) – this is a test you can take home  and spend up to a year on – (for all anyone knows somebody else could have collaborated with the test taker). Then, without peer review, the librarian with the lower IQ (he’s not even smart enough to be in his own Mega Society)  proclaims who is the smartest person in the world.

Sounds believable.

How much did Raniere pay to take the test?

But the junk science element of the bogus IQ test aside, in the article, Raniere goes on to make some more bogus or at least unverifiable claims.

He says by age 2 he could spell the word “homogenized” from seeing it on the milk carton. This one will be really hard to verify.

We are relying entirely on Raniere’s recollection at age 2?

(I knew a woman who told me she could spell supercalifragilisticexpialidocious at age 3 after watching Mary Poppins. So who is smarter?)

The article goes on to say Raniere “had an understanding of subjects such as quantum physics and computers by age 4.”

May I put on my high boots please?

Quantum physics at age 4? Ok. Possibly.

But computers at age 4 too?

The problem with that whopper is that when Raniere was 4, it was 1964.

How many computers did he have access to in 1964?

Raniere goes on to say he “was East Coast Judo champion at age 12”.

And he tied with the state record for the 100 yard-dash.

Only tied?

The last one, the 100 yard dash is inexplicably not on his bio on his website, http://www.keithraniere.com.

Perhaps he forgot.

And while the Times Union says he was East Coast Judo Champ at age 12, his bio says he “was an East Coast Judo Champion at age eleven.”

The use of the word “an” as in “an East Coast Judo Champion” as opposed to “‘The’ East Coast Judo Champion” is telling.

Does that mean there was more than one, as in I am ‘THE’ Vice President as opposed to I am ‘A’ Vice President?

How many east coast judo champions were there, whether he was 11 or 12?

Could we see some evidence? A plaque, a trophy, a mention in the record books?

What is more telling is that nowhere does Raniere mention what the name of the Judo society is that proclaimed him champ.

Maybe it was a take home judo test.

Regardless, contemporaries of Raniere do not recall him winning the 100 yard dash.

What was his record time in the race that he tied for the state record?

Would someone ask Vanguard?

Right now, the only source we have for it is Raniere himself.

If he won the 100 yard dash – where did he win it?

Is there any proof of this?

The Times Union goes on to nicely tell readers that “this amazing young man “requires only two to four hours of sleep”.

I need my hip boots now.

How would the writer know Raniere only required 2-4 hours sleep unless she slept with him?

His ex girlfriends, including ones  I interviewed, laughed uproariously at the claim that Raniere sleeps two to 4 hours a day.

Although they admit it is possible he sleeps only two – 4 hours per night.

Because he sleeps eight hours in the daytime.

The wonderful article concludes with that when Raniere took his so-called IQ test he took it home with him and he was on the honor system.

“Assistance from others… is prohibited,” the article says.

“But,” says the young genius, “who could give you assistance?”

And the writer concludes with, “Who, indeed.”?!?!

Raniere’s “who could give you assistance” is spoken with the true arrogance of “see I am so smart nobody could help me”, a shtick that he has made a living off of , a life’s work of deceiving, how can I say it delicately? – ‘stupid’ is so brusque- ‘intellectually challenged’ is too cliche – ‘retarded’ is politically incorrect –  how about ‘low IQ women?’

But, really, seriously, what would have prevented Raniere from getting any number of people to help him with his take home IQ test?

It doesn’t matter.

Raniere’s claim to being the smartest man on earth hinges on a take home test that only a few people ever took, created in the 1980’s by a librarian with no great intellectual prowess, has no widespread acceptance anywhere and, as Raniere admits, requires one to be on the honor system when taking it home.

Ranere is not known to be a man of honor.

Still I rather wish Raniere would make the test public. Show us the questions and his answers.

To establish his genius in a scientific way, Raniere needs to take some additional IQ tests which he cannot take home – but take them in a controlled environment to prove to any reasonable observer that he is as smart as he claims he is.

Otherwise one might conclude, like his 100 yard dash, his “I got a sure thing in the commodities market,” and his  “you and I baby are going to have a child together who is going to change the world” and numerous other cock and bull stories – that he may be more of con artist than genius.

More of a bullshitteer than, to say it delicately, a Vanguard.



About the author

Frank Parlato


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  • I almost spewed on my screen as I was cracking up at his crock of malarkey. Thanks for the laugh Frank.

  • Hahahahahaha. Quantum Physics at 4? Tied the 100 yard state record in NY? This 5’6″ white guy? A take home IQ test based on the honor system for this guy? Hahahahaha.

    Was the TU a tabloid newspaper at the time just getting its wings? Did they even validate these claims?

About the Author

Frank Parlato is an investigative journalist.

His work has been cited in hundreds of news outlets, like The New York Times, The Daily Mail, VICE News, CBS News, Fox News, New York Post, New York Daily News, Oxygen, Rolling Stone, People Magazine, The Sun, The Times of London, CBS Inside Edition, among many others in all five continents.

His work to expose and take down NXIVM is featured in books like “Captive” by Catherine Oxenberg, “Scarred” by Sarah Edmonson, “The Program” by Toni Natalie, and “NXIVM. La Secta Que Sedujo al Poder en México” by Juan Alberto Vasquez.

Parlato has been prominently featured on HBO’s docuseries “The Vow” and was the lead investigator and coordinating producer for Investigation Discovery’s “The Lost Women of NXIVM.” Parlato was also credited in the Starz docuseries "Seduced" for saving 'slave' women from being branded and escaping the sex-slave cult known as DOS.

Additionally, Parlato’s coverage of the group OneTaste, starting in 2018, helped spark an FBI investigation, which led to indictments of two of its leaders in 2023.

Parlato appeared on the Nancy Grace Show, Beyond the Headlines with Gretchen Carlson, Dr. Oz, American Greed, Dateline NBC, and NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, where Parlato conducted the first-ever interview with Keith Raniere after his arrest. This was ironic, as many credit Parlato as one of the primary architects of his arrest and the cratering of the cult he founded.

Parlato is a consulting producer and appears in TNT's The Heiress and the Sex Cult, which premiered on May 22, 2022. Most recently, he consulted and appeared on Tubi's "Branded and Brainwashed: Inside NXIVM," which aired January, 2023.

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