Reader asks ‘How Smart is the Vanguard?’ ‘Release your SAT scores from Rensselaer!’

A reader points out that one of the most basic claims of NXIVM is that its founder, Keith Raniere, is one of the smartest people in the world.

This claim is based almost entirely on a single, unsupervised test he took in the 1980’s.

It was not a standardized IQ test but a test designed by a librarian Ronald K. Hoeflin and permits the test taker to work from home without a time limit or supervision.  Raniere has been quoted in the Albany Times Union claiming that he spent two weeks to complete the test.

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Is Keith Raniere really one of the smartest people in the world? The only proof offered that he is, is the fact that he once took a 50 question take home test designed by a librarian who formed a so-called society called the Mega Society. Raniere took the test home with him and  completed it [with the possible help of others] in the 1980’s. The founder of the society said he scored in the top three test takers of the several dozen people who took the test.

 A reader writes: Keith Raniere’s autobiography on multiple websites proudly proclaims his hyper-genius status, teaching himself advanced math in a single (long) day, and graduating from prestigious Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a triple major in math, physics and biology.

But most of all, his score on the so-called ‘Mega Test’ of intelligence.

But the Mega Test is done on-line, with no positive identification of the subject, or verification that the answers are even from a single subject not a team, and no time limit.  The questions were published in Omni Magazine in 1985.

A true hyper-genius would be able to provide far more convincing proof of his superiority.

The admissions process for RPI, when Raniere was admitted, required the Scholastic Aptitude Test, a standardized test administered by the Educational Testing Service, with strict environmental controls, identification requirements, and time limits.

In the era that Raniere would have taken it, the SAT had a verbal part and a mathematical part. The maximum score on each part was 800, and the test was constructed to ensure that such high scores were very rare.

Anyone who got a double-800 SAT score, who was writing an autobiography claiming high intelligence, would CERTAINLY have mentioned that!!  It is notable that Raniere’s autobiographies NEVER make that claim.

If the Vanguard is really the hyper-genius that he claims to be, he would have scored double-800s on the SAT test that he had to take to be admitted to RPI, and gone home early to boot.

So I challenge Keith Raniere: release your SAT scores!  The Educational Testing Service still has them. I will even pay the fee for the report (although I’m sure that Clare Bronfman still has enough money left to pay for that!)

Or is the truth that, in a test that you had to do by yourself, with a time limit, maybe you don’t look that smart after all?

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Frank Parlato

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  • My kid brother scored a 1570 on his SAT. He also scored a 42 (out of 45) on his MCAT. He went to magnet schools for both junior high and high school. He’s smart – smarter than me and his score on the SAT was well above mine – but he never considered himself a genius like this Raniere clown.

    My guess is Raniere didn’t advertise his score because it wasn’t anything special. It’s easier to BS claims so vague that no one can validate against, e.g. “an East Coast Judo champion” wherever, “tying the state school’s 100 yard dash record” in some random race that occurred during a PE class. It’s just his word against yours. If he claims some fake SAT score, sooner or later someone will attempt to validate it and can catch him in a lie.

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.” He also appeared in "Branded and Brainwashed: Inside NXIVM, and was 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 premieres on May 22, 2022.

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