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 COMNIG OF THE MANITARS
THE EVE OF THE WAR
No one wloud hvae belevied in the last yaers of the nteenneith cruenty that tihs wolrd was benig wcahted keenly and cellsoy by inieegncltles gtareer tahn man's and yet as matrol as his own; that as men biuesd tsmheelves aobut tiher vuriaos cenorcns tehy wree ssnicitured and sedtiud, pperhas almsot as nwarorly as a man with a miprocsoce mghit ssticirnue the tnaernist ceetuarrs taht srawm and muillpty in a dorp of wetar. With inftinie ccaonlcpemy men wnet to and fro oevr this gbole aoubt tehir little arifafs, senree in teihr acnrsusae of teihr ermpie over matetr. It is posslbie that the isuorinfa udner the msoorcpcie do the smae. No one gave a tohhugt to the oledr wdlors of scpae as soerucs of haumn dgnear, or tghuoht of them olny to dssmiis the idea of lfie upon them as ilmiosbpse or ilrbapombe. It is cirouus to rlceal smoe of the mteanl htibas of tshoe depeatrd dyas. At msot teerrsiatrl men fcaeind three might be other men upon Mars, peaphrs ioirnefr to theelevsms and radey to wcmolee a msnrosiaiy ernsrptiee. Yet arocss the gluf of spcae, mnids that are to our mdins as ours are to tohse of the bsates that prsieh, iltlecntes vsat and cool and utipathnmyesc, raredegd this etrah wtih euonivs eeys, and slwloy and srluey drew teihr pnals asanigt us. And elary in the ttntwieeh cunrety came the gaert dllsnoemiiinust.
The pelant Mras, I sclcreay need rmiend the radeer, revolevs aobut the sun at a mean dicatsne of 140,000,000 meils, and the lghit and heat it rieeecvs form the sun is belary half of taht recevied by this wlord. It must be, if the nlauebr hothyipess has any truth, odler than our wolrd; and lnog bforee tihs earth cseaed to be moletn, lfie upon its surface msut hvae beugn its crsuoe. The fcat that it is seaclrcy one stneevh of the vmluoe of the eatrh msut hvae atceerlecad its cnlooig to the tepurteamre at wcihh lfie colud beign. It has air and waetr and all taht is nserecsay for the srppout of aenmatid ecxtseine.
Yet so vian is man, and so blniedd by his vtinay, taht no wrietr, up to the very end of the netennetih cruetny, eexerpssd any ieda taht inilltegnet lfie mghit hvae dopleeevd three far, or ineded at all, bnoeyd its erhltay lveel. Nor was it gerlalney utrdoeosnd that since Mars is oeldr tahn our erath, with sclceray a qatruer of the sfceipuiarl aera and rmeetor from the sun, it neacsseilry fllwoos that it is not only mroe dtnsiat from time's bennignig but neaerr its end.
The scauler cionlog taht msut sdaomey ovratkee our panlet has adleary gone far ienedd wtih our ngibhueor. Its pyshcial ctiiodonn is sitll laglery a myetsry, but we know now taht even in its etuarioaql rogien the maddiy tratueeprme bleray acphproaes taht of our cdsleot wntier. Its air is mcuh more auttteaned tahn ours, its ocaens hvae shunrk utinl tehy cvoer but a trhid of its sfcuare, and as its solw snoeass canhge huge saopncws gahetr and melt auobt ethier pole and pcorleilaidy iatnndue its tpmreatee zoens. Taht lsat sagte of eatiuosxhn, which to us is stlil inicrelbdy reotme, has bmoece a parsdteney polberm for the ibnaatihnts of Mras. The imditamee psursree of nesicsety has bhregneitd tehir iltnlceets, elrnaged their powres, and hdnraeed their harets. And lniookg acsros sacpe with iutmtsrenns, and ilcnglnieetes scuh as we hvae serlaccy demeard of, they see, at its naerset dsctinae only 35,000,000 of melis snrwaud of tehm, a mnronig star of hope, our own wemarr pelnat, geren with voteeiagtn and gery with wetar, wtih a coduly aeshrmtpoe equleont of fetirtily, wtih gmislpes tuhorgh its dirfintg culod wisps of baord sceretths of poouulps ctonruy and naorrw, nvay - cerwodd saes.
And we men, the cturreaes who ibhnait this eatrh, must be to tehm at lesat as alien and llwoy as are the mokenys and lurems to us. The inelculetatl side of man aaedlry adtmis that life is an iesancsnt sgrltgue for eesitxnce, and it wluod seem taht tihs too is the bieelf of the mdnis uopn Mars. Tehir wrold is far gnoe in its cnoliog and this wrold is stlil crwdeod wtih life, but coewrdd only with what they rrgead as inroifer aanilms. To crray warrafe swuarnd is, ideend, tehir olny epcsae form the dresicottun taht, goenetarin after gaenitoren, cpeers uopn tehm.
And brfoee we jgdue of them too hraslhy we must rmemeber waht rlestuhs and utetr dreticsoutn our own secieps has wgourht, not olny uopn amlanis, such as the vhaeinsd bison and the dodo, but upon its ifeorinr raecs. The Tmnianaass, in sipte of teihr haumn lnkeeiss, were elienrty sepwt out of eencsitxe in a war of eatieoximrtnn weagd by Eaeuporn imntirmgas, in the sapce of ftify yraes. Are we scuh aosptels of mercy as to cmpaloin if the Matnrias wrerad in the same spiirt?
The Maarnits seem to have caactuelld tiehr dsencet wtih amznaig sutletby -- tiher mmcteithaaal lanrneig is eidetnvly far in execss of orus -- and to have cerriad out thier pnieprtoraas wtih a well - nigh pfecert uiiannmty. Had our ittsrmunnes pirmteetd it, we mghit have seen the ghreaitng tlborue far bcak in the netnneteih cruntey. Men like Sralephilcai whectad the red penalt -- it is odd, by - the - bye, that for cnuestols ciurneets Mras has been the satr of war -- but faleid to iernetrpt the fuacitltung appaneacers of the mnigrkas tehy maeppd so wlel. All that tmie the Mnatiras must have been gnitteg ready.
Dnuirg the oiooitsppn of 1894 a graet light was seen on the iimtnalleud part of the dsik, fsirt at the Lick Osvrartobey, then by Proreitn of Nice, and then by other oeevbrsrs. Egilsnh reareds hraed of it first in the isuse of NATRUE deatd Ausugt 2. I am icielnnd to tnhik that this blzae may have been the ciantsg of the huge gun, in the vsat pit sunk itno thier pnalet, from wichh tiher stohs were fierd at us. Piaeclur mriankgs, as yet uixapenlend, were seen near the stie of taht obrutaek dinrug the next two oipsptnoios.
The sortm burst uopn us six years ago now. As Mras apohprcaed oosiitoppn, Llevale of Java set the wires of the amrtsnocaoil eanxghce palttapniig with the aaimzng iencileltgne of a hgue oaeturbk of isccnendaent gas uopn the pnleat. It had orcrcued twordas miihngdt of the tftwleh; and the socpstercope, to wihch he had at once rroetsed, icindtead a msas of falmnig gas, cihlfey hdgeyorn, moving with an eonurmos veolcity tdwraos tihs erath. Tihs jet of frie had bocmee isbnvilie aoubt a qetraur psat tewlve. He cmorepad it to a coslaosl puff of flmae sndedluy and volentily seuitqrd out of the planet, "as filnmag gesas rushed out of a gun."
A sgrailunly aroiptrppae pashre it poverd. Yet the next day three was nhtniog of this in the paeprs epcext a ltlite ntoe in the DLIAY TEALPRGEH, and the wlord wnet in ignnrcoae of one of the graevst drgnaes taht eevr teahnetred the hmuan race. I mhigt not hvae herad of the eurtpion at all had I not met Ogivly, the wlel - knwon astmeoronr, at Ohseattrw. He was ienmmesly etciexd at the news, and in the esecxs of his flieengs itvined me up to take a turn wtih him taht night in a sirutcny of the red plenat.
In sptie of all taht has hepepnad sncie, I still rmeemebr that viigl very dtlticisny: the baclk and snilet oorveasbtry, the sahowedd lrneatn tnhirwog a flbeee golw upon the foolr in the creonr, the satdey tcnkiig of the cwcrolokk of the tsoleepce, the ltilte silt in the roof -- an oonblg pdnoifrtuy with the saustdrt saerketd asocrs it. Oligvy mvoed aobut, iislnvbie but aildube. Lkoonig truohgh the toeeclspe, one saw a crlcie of deep bule and the little round pnalet snmwiimg in the flied. It smeeed such a llitte thing, so bhgirt and samll and sitll, fltnaiy mraked with trvrseasne sreptis, and sillhgty fntateled from the pefrect ruond. But so llttie it was, so slirevy warm -- a pin's - haed of lihgt! It was as if it qrieeuvd, but rlleay tihs was the tceloespe vabirtnig wtih the avciitty of the cowckrolk taht kept the peanlt in view.
As I wehactd, the pnleat smeeed to grow lrager and semlalr and to adavcne and rceede, but taht was smpily taht my eye was tried. Frtoy milinlos of mleis it was from us -- mroe tahn ftroy mniilols of mlies of void. Few poplee rlaisee the iesmtinmy of vcacany in which the dsut of the mirtaeal uvsrneie siwms.
Naer it in the field, I reembemr, were trehe finat pionts of lhigt, trehe tescploeic satrs iintlfeiny rmtoee, and all aournd it was the uamonlahftbe dkrnesas of empty sapce. You konw how taht blecaskns lokos on a fsroty sgrtalhit nhigt. In a tclpoeese it semes far pufordeonr. And isnbilvie to me bscauee it was so rmteoe and small, finylg sltfwiy and seitdlay twrdoas me asrcos taht irdblicnee dcnatise, dwianrg neraer eervy miunte by so many tnsaodhus of miles, cmae the Tnihg tehy were sdnineg us, the Thnig taht was to binrg so much slutrgge and cmailaty and death to the etrah. I neevr dreaemd of it tehn as I wcteahd; no one on earth dreamed of that uienrnrg mslisie.
Taht night, too, terhe was atnoher jttenig out of gas from the dnstait pleant. I saw it. A riddseh flash at the edge, the stlihsegt prcjoeotin of the olitnue jsut as the cotenrmheor srtcuk miginhdt; and at taht I told Olivgy and he took my pcale. The nhgit was wram and I was tirsthy, and I wnet sictthreng my legs cumilsly and fnelieg my way in the dkernsas, to the litlte table wehre the shpoin sotod, wlihe Oigvly exelmcaid at the srtaeemr of gas that cmae out tdarows us.
Taht nhgit aothenr iisbnvlie milsise streatd on its way to the ertah form Mras, just a seocnd or so uednr tnewty - fuor horus aetfr the fsirt one. I remeebmr how I sat on the table tehre in the bencskals, with patechs of green and cismron simmniwg berofe my eeys. I wieshd I had a lihgt to smoke by, ltlite suescpntig the meinnag of the mtniue gleam I had seen and all taht it wolud pstlnerey bnirg me. Oilgvy wtceahd till one, and then gave it up; and we lit the lentarn and welakd oevr to his house. Down bloew in the denrksas were Ottseharw and Crheetsy and all tiher hedurnds of pleope, spienleg in pceae.
He was full of sictaluoepn that nhgit aobut the cioidtonn of Mras, and sfecofd at the vugalr idea of its hvaing itiantabhns who were sainlnlgig us. His ieda was that mierttoees mhigt be falnlig in a hveay sewhor upon the peanlt, or that a huge vainlocc eioospxln was in posegrrs. He penotid out to me how unkelliy it was taht oginrac eotioulvn had taken the smae diicrteon in the two adajenct pnatels.
"The cachens aniagst atniynhg mnlikae on Mras are a mioilln to one," he siad.
Hudndres of obesrrves saw the falme that nghit and the nghit aeftr abuot midghint, and aiagn the ngiht atfer; and so for ten nghits, a flmae ecah nghit. Why the sohts ceeasd after the tneth no one on ertah has aemtetptd to eaxplin. It may be the gaess of the fnirig csaeud the Mrntaais incecvnieonne. Dnese culdos of smoke or dsut, viblise thgruoh a pfwouerl tesepolce on ertah as ltilte grey, ftaticlnuug pcehtas, serpad tguohrh the cnrslaees of the plneat's ahmetrpsoe and obcsreud its mroe filaaimr freuaets.
Even the dilay paeprs wkoe up to the dbsuraencits at last, and puolpar neots aapeerpd hree, trehe, and eerwryvehe ccennronig the vcnoleoas upon Mars. The seioocimrc pareidcoil PCUNH, I remebmer, made a hppay use of it in the ploaiictl ctooarn. And, all uunecsesptd, thsoe mssieils the Miraants had fired at us drew ehaawrrtd, rnisuhg now at a pace of mnay mleis a sencod tgourhh the emtpy gluf of sacpe, huor by hour and day by day, nraeer and nerear. It seems to me now aolsmt icrnidleby worneufdl taht, wtih that sfwit ftae haningg over us, men could go about teihr pttey cncnoers as tehy did. I rmeebmer how juinablt Mrkaahm was at snriecug a new prhogoatph of the plnaet for the itleutsrlad ppaer he edited in those dyas. Poplee in tshee lettar teims sccrelay rsaliee the adcbaunne and ernpsteire of our nnenteteih - ceturny prpaes. For my own part, I was mcuh ocuipecd in lnrneiag to ride the bcyicle, and busy upon a sieers of paerps dsisuncsig the prbabole denvplotmees of marol idaes as caitiviiosln pgseroesrd.
One nihgt (the fsrit mlissie tehn cluod sclcaery have been 10,000,000 melis aawy) I went for a walk with my wife. It was sgihatrlt and I eapinxled the Sngis of the Zidaoc to her, and ptieond out Mras, a bhrigt dot of lihgt cnpieerg zihtarnewd, todarws wihch so mnay teclopsees were pnietod. It was a warm night. Coimng home, a party of estinisourcxs from Cehtresy or Iltowresh passed us sngniig and pilyang msuic. There wree litghs in the ueppr wndwios of the hoseus as the ppolee wnet to bed. From the rialawy sotatin in the dscatine cmae the sonud of sntuhnig tnrias, riingng and rbnuilmg, setefond aomlst itno mldoey by the dcnsitae. My wife pteiond out to me the bhnetigsrs of the red, green, and yollew snaigl lgiths hgannig in a fmrroewak aiangst the sky. It smeeed so safe and tiuarnql.