Raniere Did Study to Prove He Was Top Three Problem Solver in the World

When it comes to smart, our Vanguard is one of the smartest. In fact, he is one of the top three smartest problem solvers in the world – or so he said.

For years, Raniere put that on his bio at http://www.keithraniere.com [now offline].

But how did he make that determination?

First, Keith took a take-home IQ test – in 1988. Then, based on his score on that test, he did a study to prove how rare was his genius based on the results of that test.

Next, by using his contacts – and with the help and endorsement of the man who created the take-home test – he got it into the Guinness Book of Records – for one year – in one edition [the Australian].

For 30 years, everyone from Toni Natalie to Allison Mack believed he was the smartest man in the world [or one of its top three problem solvers].

Thousands of people paid more than $2,000 [sometimes $5,000-$10,000] to take courses based upon the premise that the course was invented by the smartest man in the world.

Almost everyone took it at face value.

That fact alone proves there are gullible people who want to believe something if it will help them.

It shows the fragility of human belief since so many believed a lie which if they had turned on their skeptical thinking, they could have easily deduced was a lie.

Let’s undress his claims a little to see how easy it is to know he is lying.

I wrote all of this before he was arrested, before he was even under investigation. and before we knew about the branding.

In other words, I was on to this lying asshole for a long time.

He fooled thousands of people that he was a genius based on a take-home IQ test.

That info is readily available. It was never a secret that the Mega IQ test is a take-home test. You can find that online in minutes. It was no secret that Raniere claimed to take the Mega IQ test to establish his genius.

That should have raised doubts. Why? Because an IQ test should be monitored to ensure it is the measure of only one person’s intelligence.

Heidi Hutchinson told me that her sister Gina – who by all accounts was an extremely intelligent young woman – helped Raniere with his IQ test. In fact, Gina referred to Keith’s IQ test as “The Project,” Heidi said.

Gina knew, it would seem, that Raniere’s claim of highest IQ was based on fraud. But she is dead – and died under mysterious circumstances.

Keith may have cheated on his Mega IQ test. But Keith was smart.  He knew a simple IQ test with a high score would not be enough to prove how smart he was.

So, this genius created a study to prove his test score was so high [on his take-home IQ test] that he had the problem-solving rarity of one in 425 million people.

Despite the fact that Keith had no proof that he did not cheat on his take-home IQ test -and no proof his study did not use falsified data – some 16,000 people purportedly took ESP courses.

I am pretty sure almost everyone was pitched on the concept that Raniere was the smartest man in the world or one of the top three problem solvers in the world.

He made millions on his lie – one of the principle lies of Nxivm – that Keith was a rare genius.

In order to accept his IQ story, one has to accept what no one in the scientific and scholastic community accepts: That someone’s word about their own accomplishments is all that is needed as conclusive evidence.


Keith Raniere’s bio stated:  “Keith Raniere was honored in 1989 by the Guinness Book of World Records in the category of highest IQ.”

Actually, Raniere’s name never appeared in the US edition of the Guinness Book of World Records. His name appeared, once, for one year, in the 1989 Australian edition of the Guinness Book of Records. Keith’s name never appeared again in any other edition of the Guinness Book of Records.

It might be a coincidence, but somehow, within months of his inclusion in the Australian edition of Guinness – the editors of Guinness retired the category of “highest IQ’.

Their reason for retiring the category [which had appeared in all editions prior to 1989 – without Keith’s name] is that IQ tests are not reliable or standardized enough to be reliable enough for a world record.

What we know is that, after Keith’s Raniere’s name appeared in one edition [Australian 1989] Guinness retired the category.

Mass Market Paperback Guinness Book of World Records 1989 Book

This should have made people wonder.

The Nxivm salespeople told prospects that Keith was in the Guinness Book of Records for having the highest IQ. Yet Guinness retired the category 9 years before Nxivm started.


The IQ test Raniere took was called The Mega Test. The Mega Test was offered by something called The Mega Society, founded in 1982, by a blind librarian named Ronald K. Hoeflin.

As I said above, it is a take-home test, not monitored for cheating. It is also not timed. A person can take the test home and bring it back any time for grading.

This is not standard for serious tests and for peer review of results.

The boast of the Mega Society is that it has no peers. The Mega test is so hard, they say, that only super-geniuses [one in a million] could score high enough to even qualify to take the test.

By self-acclamation, the Mega test was the hardest IQ test in the world, offered by the most exclusive society of geniuses in the world.

None of this was proven, just stated. One had to take them at their word.

Raniere modestly describes the Mega test and his taking it.

When I took the Mega Test I did so because some of the problems looked interesting. At first glance I thought 42 of the problems were trivial, the other six required a little work.

I solved 43 of the problems in about two straight hours; the other 5 problems and proofs of some of my assertions took me about eight more hours, spread out over the next 4 days.

I handed in my result sheet and found shortly thereafter I had copied one of my answers incorrectly (one of the easier problems on the test!).

I called Ron [Hoeflin] who had missed my mistake.

I scored 46 out of 48 on the mega test.

I thought 10 hours was inappropriately long (I thought I was really bending the “untimed” nature of the test), I later learned that was considered a short time.

So my quick time was likely luck of the draw and my emotional obsessive-compulsive problem solving nature made me the perfect candidate to score high on such an exam.

When Keith joined the Mega Society in the 1980s, he assumed a large role, if not control of the Mega Society.

After Keith joined the Mega Society, the society went from 26 down to only three members. Keith renamed the Mega Society to The Hoeflin Research Group.

I was a member of the Old Mega society. I originally renamed it, The Hoeflin Research Group to brand it.

Since so few people had taken the Mega test, there was really no way of proving how tough it was and how rare was Keith’s score.

To solve this, Keith volunteered to conduct a study to determine how rare was his genius.

Keith did not have written backup for the results of much of his study. Some of the data, he said, could not be obtained in writing. Instead, the data he included in his written study was, he said, received ‘orally’ by ‘Educational Testing Service officials.’ [whoever that is].

Keith’s study “proved” something remarkable about Keith.

According to Keith Raniere’s bio: ‘He has an estimated problem-solving rarity of one in 425,000,000 with respect to the general population.’

His bio also states he is ‘one of the top three problem solvers in the world.’

Both of these claims were based on his study.

Keith used to say he never mentions his genius IQ to impress people. He used it to show that a high IQ means someone is good at solving problems found on IQ tests. In his case, it is because he thinks about problem-solving all the time.

VERY, few people from the non-problem-solver realm stand a chance against me on [IQ tests]– they do not have the experience, they do not have the drive, they are like not “primed” to solve problems.

And he has the study to prove it.

The symbol of the Mega Society looks like one of Keith Raniere’s logo designs. The name Mega is Greek for great or large. The name sounds like one of Keith’s names for a business or organization.


Gina Hutchinson reportedly helped Keith Raniere complete his take-home IQ test which, according to Keith, proved he was one of the smartest men in the world. She later died under suspicious circumstances. Her death was ruled a suicide.


After taking an obscure IQ test, there was a problem. No one believed a take-home IQ test proved Keith’s problem-solving ability was at the super genius level.  Raniere solved the problem by conducting his own study that proved his take-home IQ test score made him one of the top three problem solvers in the world.


At this point, some of you must be asking: “Keith Raniere’s claim to be one of the three top problem solvers in the world was based entirely on his own study?”

The answer is “Yes.”

Raniere, along with a [perhaps fictional] man named Dean Inada, did a study that came to the conclusion that Raniere, himself, was one of the three top problem solvers in the world.

Raniere’s criteria for his study determined he was tied with three others as the top three problem solvers in the world.

Initially, an obscure entity called “the Mega Society” published an article online entitled, “Who’s the Smartest Person on Earth” in which they gave a list of mostly unknown individuals, being qualified by their so-called “Mega Test”, as having, what they termed as “ratio IQs” of 204+:

Their list included: Anthony Bruni, Arthur Kantrowitz, Jim Ferry, John Sununu, Benoit Desjardins, Keith Raniere, Kevin Langdon, Paul Johns, Ferris Alger, Rick Rosner, Greg Treyling, Ronald Hoeflin (founder of the Mega Society), Solomon Golomb, and Steve Schuessler.

According to Wikipedia, the Mega Society was founded in 1982 by Hoeflin and is a high IQ society “open to people who have scored at the one-in-a-million level on a test of general intelligence ‘claimed’ to be able to discriminate at that level.”

Mega members Raniere and Inada developed their own means of pinpointing the mega (=one-in-a-million) level on an intelligence test by utilizing the percentage of people who can solve progressively more difficult problems in the test [based on their definitions].

Raniere worked hard to prove he was one of the smartest people in the world, going so far as to obtain from the chief Educational Testing Service statistician some of the SAT scores for students for the years 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, and 1988.

The ones he could not get in writing, he said he got orally. The study is based largely on Keith’s reporting of what he was told orally. [If he was a liar, he might have fudged some of those numbers.]


Keith Alan Raniere took a take-home IQ test, designed by an obscure society [which he later controlled], then made his own calculations based on data he selected [including non-written data] to decide how many people in the world would be able to solve problems at the level he scored on the take-home IQ test.

This then “proved” he was one of the top three problem solvers in the world.

He set out to prove he was the smartest and he proved it.

And some 16,000 people, more or less, believed it and paid him money to learn what he knew.

The Nxivm con lie pitch was “Imagine being coached by the smartest man in the world?”

This lie says less about Raniere [although one has to give him credit for being a pretty smart conman] and more about people’s beliefs.

I am not criticizing any of the people who joined Nxivm or took a class or two and felt they got something out of it. I’m referring more to the idea that all of us are not nearly skeptical enough. That we believe things not because we know them but because we want to believe them.

I was truly glad when people all over doubted the report of Epstein’s death as a suicide.

I wrote a story yesterday about US Rep. Omar. There are some suspicious circumstances surrounding her marriage that any interested and intelligent person should question – i.e., that she married and divorced her own brother. I did not make any conclusion other than to note that there are reasons to investigate. Yet all kinds of people – who want to believe in Omar – condemned me for raising the topic.

Rather than ask the question – could this be true?  – and then look at the evidence. Because they don’t want to believe -and/or because they support her politics – they jump to the hasty conclusion that I don’t have the brains to intelligently doubt and raise a valid issue.  They don’t want it to be true, so they believe it is untrue. And they get nasty real fast.

Not just with Omar – with anyone who disturbs their beliefs on anything from Trump to religion.

People believe because they want to believe that which supports what they want. It is childish. It is illogical. And it is very human.

I went through it all before with Keith Raniere.

When I first started raising issues about him – with Clare Bronfman – I got fired by her. She wanted not to believe he was cheating her.

When I told Nancy Salzman that she was going to wind up in prison – in 2007 – because of Keith, she got mad at me. She wanted to believe in him.

When I first started writing about Keith – I heard from hundreds of scoffers, critics and mockers.  Why, when I wrote that he was branding women, they laughed and condemned me and said I was out of my mind.


About the author

Frank Parlato


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  • One thing Keith is good at is being manipulative. He is a very good manipulator. He is very good at being a sociopath too. Low EQ (emotional quotient), questionable IQ.

  • Why do people believe rather than question? It may have something to do with confidence.
    Some people are crippled with self-doubt, feeling unsure, even direction-less. When someone appears who is totally confident, who knows the truth, who has no second thoughts, no doubts, complete faith that what he is doing is correct and knows what you should do too, in the absence of other answers it is very tempting to just go with the guy who knows.

    Complete certainty is perhaps the core of confidence. Arrogance or hubris is when one is confident and certain as a cover up for deep feelings of shame, guilt and rejection. Because this shadow side in denied, it pops up in all sorts of weird ways, ie. punishing lawsuits, guilt, shaming, harassing, attacking others.

    • It’s not that simple. It’s not just one person, it’s usually a group of people acting together and providing examples supporting their views. They also discourage talking to others and searching the internet, as these sources do not have your best interest in mind, as they falsely claim to be doing. They don’t need everyone to believe them to be successful in their evil intents, just a small percentage works. This is why it’s important to educate others so they don’t join in the first place and provide law enforcement evidence of crimes being committed.

    • No, not complete certainly. Confidence is the certainty that you have prepared to your utmost for whatever it is you exhibit confidence about.

      Arrogance is PRETENDING you have prepared well, when you aint prepared sh*t.

  • Maybe it’s just me… but if I were checking out a claim of smartest whiz-kid on the planet – I’m going to be checking curriculum vitae with academic and professional references – and a track record of innovation and accomplishment. No??? IQ tests (like the polygraph) are no longer even considered in academia or business..

    And before shelling out $6-8K++ for an “Intensive” (which is BTW an adjective) to improve my life – I’d expect some credentials with a bit more cred than Guinness or Rensselaer (a nice tech school – but no Oxford, Harvard or the like) — then a simple background check turns up “Consumer’s Buyline” – a pitiful pyramid plan with obvious roots in Vanguard’s brief Amway career – though with several Bernie Madoff / Ponziesque twists to make it look sexier — shut down by SEC and numerous State attorneys general with a slap on the wrist $20K judgment — and a class action suit by the folks he scammed – both of which are still outstanding.

    I can perhaps allow for Mack’s naiveté — having spent her entire adult life pretending to live in Smallville with a girlish crush on Superman – she likely hasn’t excercised “critical thinking” beyond picking an appropriate dinner dress and shoes in her life. (Not an excuse by any means — but perhaps a partial explanation.

    But I disagree with your assessment that the pathetic pedophile pervert Raniere was “very smart”- but no genius. He was a consummate scam artist who mastered classic cult methodology.

    A Critical Analysis of the Executive Success Programs Inc.
    By Paul Martin, Ph.D.

    He’s a Narcissistic psychopath with an obsessive/compulsive need to control and manipulate people – while being worshipped — so he mastered classic cult mind control and behavior modification techniques – but if he had the intelligence God gave a coconut – seems to me he would have to know it would all crash and burn sooner or later– no?? IMHO. With the likes of Vanguard & Epstein walking around some were beginning to wonder if the justice system still functioned at all! Sincere thanks Frank for having the character, guts & perseverance to help bring him down. You are greatly appreciated.

  • Thanks for this thoughtful and well-reasoned piece.

    It’s interesting to see how Raniere seemed egotistically or even narcisistically obsessed with proving his own specialness and brilliance – perhaps in part to compensate for his mediocre performance in college. It sounds to me as if that came first, and only later was his IQ claim used as part of the hagiography of NXIVM. But we can see that such things do actually work to a surprising extent in attracting loyal members to such groups.

    However, I think your tangent at the end falls into fallacious thinking. Indulging your penchant for throwing out a bit of red meat from right-leaning conspiracy-oriented sources, doesn’t necessarily illustrate anything. What’s at work is not just belief, but also legitimate considerations and the actual logic of how we sort the probable from the improbable; thus, for instance, if we’re not prone to believe bad things about Muslims compared to all the people we know in our world (and to lump them together as a group of “other”), we may consider it unlikely that someone would have done something so unusually aberrant as to have married their own brother rather than perhaps a more distant relative of the same name.

  • Raniere didn’t have to promote himself very much, he had a small gang of women who did it for him. This is a much more effective way of fooling people, using others to build you up.

  • “Not just with Omar – with anyone who disturbs their beliefs on anything from Trump to religion.

    People believe because they want to believe that which supports what they want. It is childish. It is illogical. And it is very human.”

    It’s scary how true that all is.

  • I have to ask the obvious question that we’re ALL thinking, Frank.

    I know Heidi is your buddy so I’ll keep it non-insulting.

    If Heidi relayed to you that she knew Keith’s IQ was a bogus fraud called “The Project” — then why the fuck did she let so many people pay thousands of dollars to Keith FOR YEARS without exposing this fraud much sooner than the Jim Odato articles?

    I want Heidi to address this issue and to stop hiding from it.

    Heidi owes us all an explanation that doesn’t merely whitewash things in a few vague sentences.

    I’m glad she finally turned against Keith in 2011 or 2012 (or whenever she finally went public with this shit). However, that doesn’t explain her silence for the 2 decades prior to that.

    • In hindsight, there are many reasons I didn’t come forward sooner including not wanting to burst any bubbles — Gina’s in particular — and later, after Gina died, it was more out of fear, etc. — but mostly I never thought anyone would really be fooled by Keith’s ludicrous claims unless they wanted to be, were in a personal relationship with him like Gina once was, etc.

      C’mon, he’s claiming an IQ of 240 — 80 pts. above Albert Einstein!

      I never thought he’d get as far as he did on that big a whooper of a lie without someone more qualified and interested than I calling him out on it. 🤷🏻‍♀️

    • Hahahaha Heidi, hiding!!!

      that’s H all over, right? Only not.

      Gina’s sister represents in this arena, transparently and with insight and vulnerability, in short she has what you don’t – integrity.

      You’re the sly one Cock. The one playing hide, seek and destroy, with your fancy sponsored keyboard.

  • Mr. Parlato will you please be my publicist? I have over 55 paintings done for you to play with on nxivmart@Instagram. com

    • Vanguard. Lol. So funny, you want to laugh. What a douchebag.

      But how on earth can such an asshole lure so many people in? Beautiful women, at that? Over and over and over again?

      Do his victims feel duped? Do they still cherish their vanguard? Has anything dawned on them?

      My opinion, Vanguard, but you are one serious asshole.

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.

IMDb — Frank Parlato


Contact Frank with tips or for help.
Phone / Text: (305) 783-7083
Email: frankparlato@gmail.com