A while back, I received an email that showed how the human brain is usually able to read text, even if the letters in the words are significantly jumbled.
So long as the first and last letters of each word remain in their correct location, it doesn’t matter how mixed up each word’s interior is, for most people, the text is still legible. I found this fascinating, but most of the examples I saw only had a few lines of text.
I wanted to increase the length of this, so created my own version. To source some text, I had a look some well known books that are no longer covered by copyright. At first I was going to use Jane Austen’s “Emma”, but then happened upon H. G. Wells’ “War of the Worlds” (according to litverse.com) and knew that was the text to use.
Below is first chapter of “War of the Worlds”, with word lettering randomly jumbled. Obviously, this couldn’t be applied to words having three letters or less. Also, punctuation for the most part is left intact.
After processing this text, and having heard Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War of the Worlds many times in the past, I now have Justin Hayward’s song, “Forever Autumn“, stuck in my head.
THE CNOMIG OF THE MRANIATS
THE EVE OF THE WAR
No one wulod have beveiled in the last yreas of the nntiteeneh cnetury taht this wrold was bineg wtached kenley and cleolsy by ieigteclnlens garteer than man's and yet as mtraol as his own; taht as men biuesd tlvhesmees aobut tehir viaorus cnonercs tehy wree srsceuitind and sdtiued, pphraes almsot as nrarlowy as a man wtih a msoocpcire mghit sntrucsiie the tnairsent cuetarres taht sarwm and mpilluty in a drop of water. With ifnntiie canceomclpy men wnet to and fro over this gbole aubot thier ltilte airffas, srenee in thier anuascrse of thier eprmie oevr mttaer. It is piboslse taht the irunoisfa udenr the msocpcrioe do the smae. No one gvae a thought to the oedlr wrdlos of scpae as sceorus of hamun dagner, or tohguht of them olny to dimsiss the ieda of life uopn them as ipmboilsse or irbbomlpae. It is cuurios to ralcel smoe of the meantl hbtias of tshoe dtearepd dyas. At most teseritrral men fcaeind there mghit be otehr men uopn Mras, ppaerhs iofirner to tvelseehms and reday to welmoce a mraiisnosy esrtenrpie. Yet asrcos the gulf of spcae, mdnis that are to our mdnis as orus are to tohse of the bsetas that priseh, ietellctns vast and cool and uehtnysapimtc, rgaerded tihs erath with enoivus eyes, and solwly and srleuy derw tiher pnals aisnagt us. And ealry in the twteienth cretuny cmae the garet dnllssieuoinmit.
The plaent Mars, I slecarcy need rmenid the rdeear, rlvoeevs auobt the sun at a maen datnsice of 140,000,000 mleis, and the lghit and heat it rivceees form the sun is bleary half of taht rceveeid by this wrold. It must be, if the nuabelr hhtesipyos has any tturh, oledr than our wrold; and long bfeore tihs eatrh cseaed to be mloten, life uopn its sufrcae msut have bugen its csruoe. The fact taht it is sccrelay one seevnth of the vloume of the etrah must hvae aecerceatld its cnlooig to the traeptemure at whcih life could beign. It has air and wtaer and all that is nreseascy for the suopprt of animtaed eictsenxe.
Yet so vian is man, and so bdinled by his vnatiy, that no wrietr, up to the vrey end of the nneeiettnh cnurtey, essrexepd any ieda that inlingeltet lfie mhigt hvae devlepoed trhee far, or ienedd at all, byenod its ealrhty leevl. Nor was it gleraenly udosnroted taht scine Mars is older tahn our etarh, with scelarcy a qeartur of the suaerciifpl area and rmoteer form the sun, it nlrisaceesy folowls taht it is not only more disnatt from time's bgieninng but nareer its end.
The selaucr clooing taht msut semdaoy overtake our plnaet has aerlady gnoe far iended with our nhbuigeor. Its pciasyhl conoitdin is sltil largley a mtsyery, but we konw now that eevn in its erquaoiatl region the madidy tpremetruae brleay acorphpaes taht of our cseodlt wtenir. Its air is much mroe atetaunted than ours, its oaecns have snhurk unitl tehy ceovr but a third of its surfcae, and as its solw sneasos cgnhae hgue swopnacs gethar and melt about ehetir pole and paloledriciy inunatde its termeapte zones. That lsat sgate of esaiutxhon, wcihh to us is sltil inebcridly rteome, has boecme a pneadsrety polrebm for the inianathtbs of Mras. The itaemdmie prusrsee of nesstceiy has brghteenid their itenelctls, enleragd thier powres, and hrdaened teihr hretas. And lknooig ascros space wtih imtutnresns, and ineetllicgnes such as we hvae seccalry dmaeerd of, they see, at its neasret dacsinte olny 35,000,000 of miels sawurnd of them, a mrniong star of hope, our own weramr paelnt, geren with vgetaoeitn and grey wtih wtaer, wtih a culody ahmtorespe eleuqnot of flreitity, wtih gemlpiss togruhh its dfintrig culod wpiss of broad shettercs of ppulouos cutonry and nrraow, nvay - cerowdd seas.
And we men, the cterarues who iihabnt tihs etrah, must be to them at laset as aieln and lwoly as are the myeknos and lmuers to us. The iauenttlecll sdie of man alreday amdits that life is an inecnsast sulrgtge for eeticxnse, and it would seem that this too is the beilef of the mdins upon Mars. Their wolrd is far gnoe in its clonoig and tihs wolrd is stlil codrwed wtih life, but cewdord olny wtih what they rraged as iferoinr aanmils. To crary waafrre swanurd is, ieednd, tiher only ecpsae from the duottirescn taht, genorteain atefr grnteieaon, cerpes upon tehm.
And borfee we jgdue of them too hlrshay we must rbmeemer what rulhests and uettr druttesoicn our own seiecps has wgruhot, not olny upon aainlms, such as the vniesahd biosn and the ddoo, but uopn its iorefnir reacs. The Tasainnmas, in sptie of teihr huamn lenekiss, were eilretny sepwt out of estcixnee in a war of eitaxroetimnn wgaed by Eurpoaen inrgaitmms, in the sapce of fitfy yeras. Are we such atsloeps of mrecy as to copaimln if the Mtinaras wearrd in the same siirpt?
The Mirtaans seem to hvae cecllautad their dcseent wtih azminag settbluy -- tehir mmtheticaaal lnarieng is eldievtny far in ecsexs of ours -- and to hvae crraied out tehir prpeaarntios with a wlel - nigh pceerft unitnmaiy. Had our iutsmrnnets pttiemerd it, we mhgit have seen the gnhritaeg toblrue far bcak in the ntenneteih ctrueny. Men lkie Sclhaiplarei wtaechd the red pnleat -- it is odd, by - the - bye, taht for cunslotes cenieurts Mras has been the star of war -- but feilad to ietrpenrt the fuctiuanltg aeeaacrppns of the mgnrikas they mpaepd so wlel. All that tmie the Mantairs must have been gttieng radey.
Duinrg the oipipotson of 1894 a great light was seen on the iumaientlld prat of the dsik, frsit at the Lcik Ovosbraetry, then by Pirroetn of Nice, and then by ohter orrbesevs. Enlisgh reareds haerd of it first in the isuse of NUTRAE detad Ausugt 2. I am ieclnind to tinhk that this bzlae may hvae been the ctsnaig of the huge gun, in the vsat pit snuk itno tiher pelant, from whcih tehir sohts were fried at us. Piculaer mnrkgias, as yet ualnnepiexd, wree seen naer the site of taht oebuartk dnuirg the next two oipotispons.
The storm busrt upon us six yaers ago now. As Mars aoahpcrped osiopioptn, Leavlle of Jvaa set the wries of the anomroasictl enhgaxce pitanitplag wtih the aamnzig iiecllegntne of a huge oeratbuk of isneeannccdt gas upon the paenlt. It had occrrued trwodas mgdihnit of the tteflwh; and the seoprcotcspe, to wchih he had at once roreestd, iacenitdd a mass of fmianlg gas, ceifhly hgordyen, mivnog with an enomours vitleocy tdaorws tihs ertah. This jet of frie had bcemoe inbsvilie abuot a quretar past tvlwee. He crmeoapd it to a cooassll pfuf of flmae snlddeuy and velitnoly suqterid out of the pnalet, "as famnlig geass reuhsd out of a gun."
A slgunrilay arpaitrpope prashe it pevrod. Yet the next day tehre was ntihnog of tihs in the peaprs exepct a little ntoe in the DALIY TGPAEELRH, and the wlord wnet in icognnare of one of the gsaervt dneagrs that eevr teathenerd the haumn rcae. I might not have hraed of the erpotiun at all had I not met Oligvy, the wlel - known aeoomrtsnr, at Ottsrehaw. He was isleenmmy eticexd at the news, and in the excses of his fgeelnis inveitd me up to tkae a trun with him that night in a srcuntiy of the red palnet.
In spite of all that has hapenped since, I sltil rbmemeer taht vigil very dtitcinsly: the balck and slneit otvbersraoy, the swdeoahd lrtnaen tonhwrig a felbee golw upon the foolr in the creonr, the stdaey tinkcig of the ckowrolck of the tsleepcoe, the ltilte slit in the roof -- an obnlog ptidounrfy wtih the sadurtst sareektd asocrs it. Ogvliy moevd aoubt, iinviblse but aldbuie. Lonkiog troughh the tposeelce, one saw a clicre of deep blue and the lltite round pnealt sniiwmmg in the felid. It semeed such a llitte thing, so bgrhit and smlal and sltil, fnltiay mekrad wtih tvnersrsae sprties, and sitghlly flnteeatd from the pefcret rnuod. But so ltitle it was, so slreviy wram -- a pin's - head of lhgit! It was as if it qeiuvred, but rlleay this was the teoslepce vibranitg wtih the atviicty of the colwkrcok that kpet the planet in veiw.
As I whteacd, the pleant semeed to gorw legrar and smllear and to aacvdne and rcdeee, but that was splimy that my eye was treid. Frtoy mnloliis of mlies it was form us -- mroe than froty mnillois of miles of void. Few ploepe rilsaee the ieitnmmsy of vcacnay in wichh the dust of the metriaal usinerve swims.
Near it in the felid, I rbmmeeer, wree three fiant points of lhgit, there tleeciospc srats iltneiinfy romtee, and all aunrod it was the umoatlfnbhae dsknraes of emtpy sacpe. You konw how taht bancelkss lokos on a ftsroy sahtrligt nihgt. In a tsoeeplce it semes far podofruner. And inilsbvie to me beucase it was so roteme and smlal, fnilyg stwfliy and sdlieaty tdoraws me aorscs that indcbrleie dcatnsie, dawnrig nreaer evrey mtnuie by so many thnusaods of meils, came the Tinhg tehy were sniendg us, the Thnig taht was to brnig so mcuh sugrgtle and calmiaty and detah to the etarh. I neevr demeard of it tehn as I wcatehd; no one on ertah deermad of that ureinrng mlisise.
That nihgt, too, there was aotnher jneittg out of gas form the daistnt pnleat. I saw it. A rdsideh flash at the edge, the stghelist ptreiocojn of the onuilte just as the crnmheoetor srtuck midnghit; and at taht I tlod Ogivly and he took my palce. The nghit was warm and I was tirshty, and I wnet shtcietnrg my lges clmulsiy and felenig my way in the darksens, to the llitte tlbae werhe the soihpn stood, wlihe Oigvly emexliacd at the srmteear of gas that came out twdaros us.
Taht ngiht atehnor iinlvsbie msilise srettad on its way to the eatrh form Mars, just a sncoed or so udner twetny - four hours aeftr the fsirt one. I rmmeeebr how I sat on the talbe trehe in the baksncles, wtih phacets of geren and cmirson smiiwnmg bfoere my eyes. I weshid I had a lhgit to skmoe by, lttlie ssictnupeg the mnaieng of the mniute gelam I had seen and all that it wulod pretlesny birng me. Ovilgy whaetcd tlil one, and tehn gave it up; and we lit the leatnrn and wakeld oevr to his hsoue. Down below in the deksarns were Orasetthw and Crsetehy and all tiher hdndrues of ppeloe, snpeleig in pecae.
He was flul of seipcuotlan that nghit aoubt the coioindtn of Mars, and soceffd at the vgaulr idea of its hanvig intbtanihas who were sniilalngg us. His idea was that meereittos mhgit be flnailg in a havey soehwr upon the pnelat, or that a huge vacoilnc eplixoson was in pogserrs. He pnteoid out to me how unilekly it was that oiargnc etouvloin had taken the smae dtcroeiin in the two aedjncat plaents.
"The cnaechs asniagt annihytg mainlke on Mars are a mllioin to one," he said.
Hedrunds of obsevrres saw the flmae taht nihgt and the night after about mhidgnit, and again the nghit after; and so for ten nithgs, a fmale ecah nhgit. Why the shtos ceesad aetfr the tenth no one on eatrh has apetttmed to elxpian. It may be the gases of the fiinrg cueasd the Mrnatais ieccivnnnnoee. Dnsee cdlous of smkoe or dsut, viblise tuohgrh a pweroful tceopelse on erath as lttile gery, fitntuuclag phacets, separd thougrh the cealrenss of the pelant's ahrptosmee and oursecbd its mroe fimaialr ftureaes.
Even the dlaiy papers wkoe up to the dcaetuinrbss at lsat, and poauplr nteos appeerad here, trehe, and evyerewhre cnerocnnig the vcaelonos uopn Mras. The scioiormec praidioecl PNCUH, I remmbeer, made a hpapy use of it in the plotaciil crootan. And, all usenptsecud, thsoe msieslis the Mitraans had fierd at us derw eaarrwhtd, rushing now at a pace of mnay mleis a sencod tugohrh the etmpy gluf of scpae, hour by huor and day by day, naeerr and nareer. It seems to me now alomst inredilcby wrdnfoeul that, with taht sfiwt ftae hnnigag over us, men cluod go aubot tiher ptety crencons as tehy did. I reebemmr how jialnubt Mhrakam was at senucirg a new pohrtgopah of the pnalet for the ierluttlasd paper he edetid in tohse dyas. Ploepe in thsee laettr teims saceclry rieslae the abadnnuce and etpenrrsie of our neeittnenh - cretnuy paerps. For my own part, I was mcuh ocuiepcd in lrianeng to ride the bcylice, and bsuy uopn a seiers of prapes dcisisusng the pabolrbe dtvonemeleps of moarl ideas as clsiitaivion pogseerrsd.
One nhigt (the first mssiile tehn culod slcacrey hvae been 10,000,000 melis aawy) I went for a wlak with my wfie. It was saltrhgit and I enixpaled the Sings of the Zaidoc to her, and pntioed out Mars, a bhirgt dot of lhigt cipnreeg zawniethrd, twodras wchih so mnay tpcoseeels wree poientd. It was a warm nihgt. Conmig hmoe, a ptray of esonxicsurits form Ctheersy or Irweltsoh pasesd us sngiing and payilng miusc. Trehe wree lghtis in the ueppr woidnws of the huoses as the pelpoe went to bed. Form the rwaaliy sttaoin in the dncasite cmae the sound of stnnhuig tarins, rninigg and runbimlg, soeneftd aslomt into moedly by the dnscatie. My wife pnotied out to me the bnhtgeriss of the red, geren, and yeollw sgianl lithgs hnnagig in a fwameorrk ainasgt the sky. It smeeed so safe and taqunril.