Larry Shea: Apropos of Ben Szemkus ‘passing’ lie detector test –‘Lie Detectors Don’t Detect Lies’

By Larry Shea

A polygraph machine, or what is more commonly referred to as a lie detector, does not detect lies. A polygraph machine “merely measures and records several physiological indices such as blood pressure, pulse rate, respiration, and skin conductivity.”

During the testing procedure, a person is asked to answer a series of questions which are divided into control questions and relevant questions.

In 1991, a two-thirds majority of experts, with the requisite scientific background to evaluate polygraph procedures, considered the use of the polygraph procedure to detect lies to be “pseudoscience.” That is, two-thirds of these qualified scientists considered a polygraph or lie detector test to be fake science!

More importantly, confidence of the scientific and legal community in the effectiveness of a polygraph test has declined even further since 1991. In the 1998 Supreme Court case, the United Sates vs. Scheffer, the majority of the Supreme Court stated that “there is simply no consensus that polygraph evidence is reliable.” In fact, “the Supreme Court summarized their findings by tating that the use of polygraph was ‘no more accurate than a coin flip.”’


At best polygraphs are measuring physical metrics. These physical metrics can have a variety of causes including nervousness, anxiety, incidental worries or concerns, discomfort, medications, fever, and exercise.

Ultimately, all that a polygraph procedure is going measure or detect is physical arousal. The polygraph procedure will not be able to detect the physical metrics of someone who either believes in their own lies or who has no conscience about telling their lies. Psychological research overwhelmingly demonstrates that human emotions cannot be reliably measured. A polygraph machine is no exception: A polygraph machine cannot measure emotions either, “especially when one has an interest in hiding his/her emotions, the idea of valid detection of truth or falsehood through measuring respiratory rate, blood volume, pulse rate, and galvanic skin response is a mere pretense.”


Because a polygraph procedure is only measuring arousal, one way to beat the procedure is to stay very calm, relaxed, confident, and friendly towards the technician giving the test. It is also a good idea to get a good night’s sleep before taking a polygraph.

There is also another simple technique that can be used to beat the polygraph; 1) Stress yourself out when answering the control questions. 2) Calm yourself down when answering the relevant questions.

Some folks may recall Aldrich Ames, the former CIA counterintelligence analyst who spied for the Soviet Union and Russia. Although Ames failed to pass several polygraph tests, for which no action was taken, he also passed two polygraph tests. When Ames was asked how he had beaten two polygraph tests, he replied, “There’s no special magic…Confidence is what does it. Confidence and a friendly relationship with the examiner.”

His Soviet handler advised him “to be cooperative and maintain your calm.” In fact, “from 1945 to the present, at least six Americans have committed espionage while successfully passing polygraph tests.”

Another famous example of the ineffectiveness of the polygraph test is that of Gary Ridgway, the Green River killer and necrophiliac. Ridgway passed his polygraph test in 1984, and only confessed 20 years later when he was confronted with the evidence of his DNA. During the 20 years that followed his passing of the polygraph test, Gary Ridgway murdered seven additional women.

For more info on how to beat a polygraph test, see

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Frank Parlato


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  • You should really use quotes around Larry Shea’s name to connote that he is not a real person.

  • For those of us, which is to say all of us, who are entirely sick of Ben and Scott BS, we appreciate your post. Actual facts, fancy that.

  • There’s a reason Ben Szemkus’s initials are “BS”. For reasons illustrated in other posts, by Larry Shea and commenters here on Frank Report (myself included), I remain thoroughly doubtful of the truthfulness of Ben Szemkus’s story. As Larry mentions, a polygraph only measures physiological characteristics of a test subject, and by itself is not a reliable indicator of a subject’s honesty.

    While there’s a remote chance of it happening, it’d be really great if we could here from the people he claims to have attended this party with.

    Like I said in a post yesterday, Szemkus doesn’t have a legal leg to stand on, vis a vis a Libel claim; on the other hand, he could easily be named as a defendant in a slander case, based on the content of his video, if any interested parties chose to act.

    • I think Frank is just posting BS related garbage for filler while we are all waiting for indictments.

    • Huh? Looks like my Valtrex is wearing off. I need to go to the store and get some more

      • There is a simple explanation to that:

        The Jury loves to hear “scientific” facts, no matter how reliable these are. Another thing that is pretty unreliable is bite marks, especially old ones, and single textile fibres/hairs without DNA test.
        I know firsthand of a case where a man was jailed for murder because they found a hair that matched his hair color. 20 years later they found out it was from a dog. He was released, but how do you compensate these people?

        People are asking the wrong questions and have the wrong expectations in science. You cannot ask whether A has murdered B. What you ask is CAN A have murdered B. An honest answer to these questions would be that a certain trace shows that A could have done it, but C could not.

        There was a case in which a woman’s body was dumped under an oak tree and there was a single leaf fount in the husband’s trunk. It matched in 20 genetric criteria with the tree the woman was found under.
        We told the judge that this could be by chance (roughly 1 in 4 million was our estimate). He was convicted.

        Whenever you use a certain scientific method you need to know how to apply it and how reliable it’s results are. For that you need to learn statistics and not law. When it comes to sentences that are either very long of life, there is no room for uncertainties. A black box method like the polygraph is not what you want in general

  • You’re right Larry. Ben and I paid Steve for the exam results. Here is a copy of the check.

    Sorry folks! I was just bored and wanted to steer people to my blog.

  • Okay, okay. You caught us Larry.

    Ben and I made up the whole story to drive traffic to my Anti-Amway blog.

    I apologize for the hoax and for wasting everyone’s time with Fake news.

    Sorry Frank!

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.” In addition, he was credited in the Starz docuseries 'Seduced' for saving 'slave' women from being branded and escaping the sex-slave cult known as DOS.

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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