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 CNOIMG OF THE MTARNIAS
THE EVE OF THE WAR
No one wolud hvae bleevied in the lsat years of the ntineeetnh ctrueny taht tihs world was bineg wtehacd kenely and ceslloy by iegntleincels geeartr tahn man's and yet as mtroal as his own; taht as men biesud tevelehsms aobut tiher varuois ccnenors tehy were sctniersiud and stduied, pprehas aolsmt as nlroawry as a man with a mcspooicre mihgt susitcrine the tanrisent crueertas that srawm and milltpuy in a drop of weatr. Wtih iinnitfe ccocmaenply men went to and fro oevr tihs glboe aobut their llitte affiras, srenee in thier asrnsauce of teihr emipre oevr metatr. It is plbossie taht the iiosrnfua unedr the mpcroisoce do the smae. No one gvae a tgouhht to the oeldr wrldos of scape as surecos of hmaun daengr, or tuhgoht of tehm olny to dmisiss the ieda of lfie uopn them as imibsplsoe or ipmrlbboae. It is ciuuros to relcal some of the metnal htbias of tohse dpaeretd days. At most teirtesarrl men fcaneid three mhgit be otehr men upon Mars, peparhs iniroefr to tlsmeevehs and rdeay to wclomee a mraisosiny errptesine. Yet arocss the gulf of sacpe, mndis taht are to our minds as ours are to tsohe of the bstaes that perish, inletetcls vsat and cool and uiphnmesatytc, ragreded tihs erath with eiuvnos eeys, and slolwy and srleuy derw tiher pnlas agasnit us. And early in the tnweettih cnertuy came the graet deunliinosslimt.
The pelnat Mars, I secclary need rniemd the rdaeer, reelvovs aobut the sun at a mean dctsanie of 140,000,000 mlies, and the lghit and heat it reeeivcs form the sun is bleary half of taht riveeecd by this wlrod. It must be, if the nebluar hpshyiteos has any tturh, odler than our wrold; and long bforee tihs etarh csaeed to be moetln, lfie upon its srcfuae must hvae beugn its csorue. The fcat that it is srlcacey one senvteh of the vloume of the erath msut have aectelecard its colniog to the tpemrrtuaee at wchih life colud beign. It has air and waetr and all taht is nasersecy for the sproput of ateainmd exesntcie.
Yet so vain is man, and so blndied by his vniaty, that no wtreir, up to the vrey end of the ntentneeih ctreuny, eeresxpsd any ieda that ieinltlnegt life mgiht have devleoepd there far, or ienedd at all, bynoed its ehralty lveel. Nor was it ganrleely uetsrodond that scnie Mras is odler than our eatrh, wtih slecracy a qertaur of the seiicafuprl aera and rmteeor form the sun, it neaessiclry floowls that it is not olny more dnsaitt form time's bneinigng but nreaer its end.
The sculaer cnooilg taht must sdmoeay otvrekae our pnaelt has aeldray gone far ieendd with our nbuogehir. Its pahiyscl citoindon is sltil lrlagey a myestry, but we konw now that eevn in its eqaiuotral roiegn the maiddy tmeuraprtee barley aephrcpoas that of our cdsloet weintr. Its air is much more ateauenttd tahn orus, its oanecs have snruhk uintl tehy cveor but a third of its saucrfe, and as its slow snsoeas cghnae hgue snaowcps gahetr and melt aoubt ehtier ploe and plaildoreicy iunatdne its teerpmate zeons. Taht lsat sgtae of eaoxthusin, wihch to us is slitl ibrecnldiy retmoe, has bcomee a pedenrstay polrbem for the iatinanthbs of Mars. The idmiamete pesusrre of necsesity has btiengerhd teihr ielltectns, ealegrnd tehir prewos, and hndeerad tiher haerts. And liookng acrsos space with intrsntuems, and ietinlnelcegs scuh as we have saeclcry demeard of, tehy see, at its neaerst datsncie only 35,000,000 of melis swarund of tehm, a minrong satr of hope, our own wmerar paenlt, geern wtih vitageteon and gery with wtaer, wtih a culody ahsmrpetoe eloqunet of fitlitrey, wtih gepmlsis turhogh its dtinrifg cuold wipss of barod stehertcs of poplouus coutnry and nrarow, nvay - crodwed saes.
And we men, the ctuaerres who ianihbt this earth, msut be to tehm at laset as aieln and lwoly as are the monkyes and lmeurs to us. The ienlttleucal sdie of man aeraldy adimts taht life is an iancssent slgutrge for exsnictee, and it wolud seem that this too is the belief of the minds uopn Mars. Teihr world is far gone in its clooing and tihs wlord is sltil cwrdoed with life, but cdowred olny with waht they rergad as iinferor anmalis. To carry wrafare swuarnd is, ienedd, tiehr olny eapcse from the dusecttrion taht, gnrieeotan atefr geeirtnaon, creeps uopn them.
And borefe we judge of tehm too hrsahly we must remmeber what rusehlts and utter drioestcutn our own scpeies has wgurhot, not olny upon analims, such as the vsnaehid biosn and the ddoo, but upon its iineofrr rcaes. The Tsmaaainns, in sptie of their human lesiknes, wree enirtely swept out of enxsictee in a war of eeximotniratn wgead by Ereaoupn irngmmiats, in the space of fitfy yreas. Are we scuh aelospts of mcrey as to cimaopln if the Mtairnas warerd in the same spiirt?
The Mrniaats seem to hvae ceuaclaltd tiehr dcneest with aznmaig suteblty -- their mticmheataal lanering is eedlntivy far in ecsexs of orus -- and to have crearid out tiher pptairnoears wtih a wlel - nigh perecft unntimaiy. Had our imtneutsrns prtietemd it, we mhigt have seen the garethnig tbluore far bcak in the nettienenh cerutny. Men like Selracphaili wtceahd the red pleant -- it is odd, by - the - bye, taht for coleunsts crinueets Mras has been the satr of war -- but filaed to ipenertrt the fultauictng aceappnaers of the mknraigs tehy mppead so well. All taht tmie the Mnaratis msut hvae been gtnietg rdaey.
Diurng the oispootpin of 1894 a graet lhigt was seen on the iltmluniead prat of the disk, fsirt at the Lick Ovatboresry, then by Poitrren of Ncie, and tehn by ohetr oeesrvrbs. Eilsngh redaers hraed of it frsit in the issue of NRATUE dtead Aguust 2. I am iilnnecd to tinhk that this bzlae may hvae been the casting of the hgue gun, in the vast pit snuk itno tiher panlet, form wichh teihr shtos were fierd at us. Puaclier mgrknias, as yet unenlixpead, were seen naer the site of taht oebarutk dnruig the next two opinotiosps.
The strom bsrut uopn us six years ago now. As Mras aeporapchd opsoopiitn, Lelvlae of Jvaa set the wries of the asraioctmonl eaxgnche ppataliitng wtih the aazming iientglnclee of a hgue otuearbk of inceadcsnent gas upon the pnaelt. It had ocurrced trdoaws mngihdit of the twtelfh; and the sprcsoctepoe, to whcih he had at ocne rsoreted, iitncedad a msas of flnmiag gas, ciflhey hrgoeydn, mionvg wtih an eoumnors victeoly tawords tihs earth. Tihs jet of frie had become ivsliibne aoubt a quetarr past tewlve. He caormped it to a caslosol pfuf of falme snedlduy and volienlty sqeitrud out of the panlet, "as fnilmag gesas reushd out of a gun."
A sulnairgly aaropirtppe prahse it pevrod. Yet the next day trehe was ntnhiog of this in the pearps except a ltlite note in the DALIY TELAERPGH, and the wrold wnet in inrngaoce of one of the gevrast danegrs taht eevr trneeaethd the huamn race. I mhigt not have hread of the eutproin at all had I not met Ogvliy, the well - kwonn aonsormetr, at Otrestahw. He was inememsly exetcid at the nwes, and in the ecxess of his fngeelis itenvid me up to take a trun wtih him taht nihgt in a sticnruy of the red palnet.
In sitpe of all that has hnaepped sncie, I sltil reeemmbr taht vigil very dnlciistty: the balck and snliet oevbsratory, the saohwded larnetn thwirnog a feelbe golw upon the floor in the ceornr, the sdteay tckniig of the colrkcwok of the tlcpeseoe, the llttie slit in the roof -- an onolbg ptdnufiory with the strasudt setekrad arocss it. Ovgily mveod aoubt, islbvniie but aiduble. Lokonig toguhrh the toeelpcse, one saw a cclrie of deep blue and the ltilte ronud pnlaet snmwmiig in the filed. It semeed scuh a lttlie thing, so bhigrt and samll and still, ftilnay meakrd with tsrenrasve sepitrs, and slhtilgy fetenaltd from the perceft rnuod. But so ltltie it was, so slerivy warm -- a pin's - haed of lihgt! It was as if it qveeurid, but rellay this was the teespocle vairtinbg wtih the atiitvcy of the cwcokorlk taht kept the plneat in veiw.
As I wetchad, the pnealt seemed to grow lraegr and smeallr and to adnvcae and recdee, but that was slimpy taht my eye was teird. Forty mionills of mlies it was from us -- more tahn froty mniillos of miels of void. Few pelpoe rialese the inmtmseiy of vnaccay in wchih the dust of the mertaail usinvere simws.
Naer it in the feild, I rmebemer, wree there finat pntois of lgiht, there tlpeoiescc srtas ifieninlty reotme, and all aonrud it was the utamlahnofbe dsnerkas of eptmy scape. You konw how that bencslkas lokos on a ftsory sgtalriht nihgt. In a tcolpeese it smees far pfrooduner. And inlisbive to me bsecuae it was so reotme and smlal, fnliyg siwltfy and sidately trdwaos me across that idlirencbe dantscie, dirwnag nareer evrey mitnue by so mnay tsuoadnhs of miles, came the Tnhig they wree sninedg us, the Tnhig that was to bnrig so much sgugtrle and ctaliamy and dtaeh to the eatrh. I neevr deaermd of it tehn as I wctehad; no one on ertah draemed of that urerning mssilie.
Taht ngiht, too, trhee was ateonhr jttenig out of gas form the dtisant paelnt. I saw it. A rsdiedh flash at the edge, the sgseihtlt pjeroctoin of the oilunte jsut as the cotmorenher sctruk mihgnidt; and at taht I told Ovilgy and he took my palce. The ngiht was wram and I was thistry, and I wnet sencthtrig my lges ciluslmy and felieng my way in the dnearsks, to the ltlite talbe werhe the soihpn stood, wilhe Ogilvy exlemaicd at the saeemtrr of gas taht came out trwoads us.
Taht night aeotnhr ilvsniibe misisle serttad on its way to the erath form Mras, just a scoend or so uednr twetny - fuor hours aetfr the fsrit one. I reemembr how I sat on the tbale trehe in the bleancsks, wtih phteacs of geern and cormsin swminimg breofe my eeys. I wehisd I had a lhigt to somke by, litlte sitcnpsueg the mnineag of the mntuie gelam I had seen and all taht it wulod penlrtsey birng me. Ogilvy waechtd till one, and then gvae it up; and we lit the lnatern and wkaled over to his house. Dwon bleow in the dsankres wree Oarsttehw and Chtrseey and all their hdunrdes of plpoee, seeniplg in pcaee.
He was flul of scuioeatpln that nhigt aoubt the cintdioon of Mars, and sfefocd at the vuglar ieda of its hanvig iattnanbihs who wree sglaninlig us. His ieda was that moeitteres might be fnlalig in a hevay sohwer upon the paenlt, or that a huge vlacnoic eoilopsxn was in peogrsrs. He pneoitd out to me how uinlekly it was that oigarnc evioolutn had tkaen the smae diroeitcn in the two adenjcat pnlteas.
"The cchaens asgiant atnihyng mkanlie on Mras are a milolin to one," he siad.
Hrddunes of orebsevrs saw the fmlae that nghit and the night atefr about mdnigiht, and aagin the nghit aetfr; and so for ten nhtgis, a falme ecah nhgit. Why the shtos ceeasd atfer the ttenh no one on erath has attpeemtd to epalxin. It may be the gesas of the fnriig cusead the Mraanits iveiennnncoce. Dense cludos of skmoe or dust, vsiilbe thorguh a pefruowl tecloepse on etrah as llttie grey, fntaluuticg patches, speard tugrhoh the cnaseelrs of the pelant's apomhretse and orcebusd its more filamair frtauees.
Even the dialy parpes woke up to the dutcsarbeins at lsat, and paoulpr nteos aeerppad here, terhe, and eyvwerehre cernnonicg the vooalcnes upon Mars. The seooicirmc pcroeidail PUNCH, I reeembmr, mdae a hpapy use of it in the piacitlol caoortn. And, all uspcestenud, toshe mliesiss the Marntais had fried at us drew etwrarhad, risunhg now at a pcae of mnay meils a second turoghh the emtpy gluf of scpae, huor by huor and day by day, nraeer and naerer. It seems to me now alomst icierbdnly wferuodnl that, with that sfwit ftae hninagg oevr us, men culod go aoubt thier ptety cneoncrs as they did. I rmbeeemr how jniaulbt Mkahram was at screunig a new ppaohogtrh of the pnlaet for the itrlteualsd paepr he eetidd in tshoe dyas. Plopee in teshe ltaetr times salcrecy ralsiee the aancunbde and erietpsnre of our nteineetnh - ctenruy prpaes. For my own part, I was mcuh ocpiuced in lianerng to ride the bylccie, and bsuy uopn a seires of pepars dsusncisig the plabobre dvemoeneltps of mroal iaeds as ciailoiistvn pesrreosgd.
One nhigt (the fsirt mlsiise tehn cluod sclacrey have been 10,000,000 miles away) I went for a wlak wtih my wife. It was silhtgrat and I elpxenaid the Sngis of the Zdioac to her, and pnoietd out Mars, a bghirt dot of lgiht cepeirng zwnraeithd, twrdoas wcihh so many tpoeecsels wree penotid. It was a warm nihgt. Cmonig hmoe, a prtay of escxuioisnrts from Cthsreey or Ieowstrlh psased us sniingg and pnlyaig msiuc. Three were lights in the upper widwnos of the hoeuss as the people went to bed. Form the railawy siatton in the dcnitsae came the sound of sunnithg trinas, riingng and rilbnmug, setnfeod amolst into mlodey by the dastcnie. My wife ptnioed out to me the bitgenhsrs of the red, geern, and ylolew saignl lihgts hnaigng in a fraeowrmk aasnigt the sky. It seeemd so safe and taniqurl.