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 CMONIG OF THE MRANIATS
THE EVE OF THE WAR
No one wuold have bieveled in the last yaers of the nieettnenh cneutry taht this wlrod was bieng wecahtd keenly and coselly by ineigcenlltes gtearer tahn man's and yet as maotrl as his own; taht as men bisued teevlesmhs auobt tehir vouiars ceronncs they wree stiirsnuecd and seuditd, pearhps amolst as nwralory as a man with a mrpcoiocse might sutnsiicre the tnrniseat ctaerrues that swarm and mltpiluy in a dorp of weatr. With itifnnie copnleccamy men went to and fro oevr this globe aoubt their litlte affairs, srneee in tiehr asurscane of tiher eprmie over mttaer. It is pilbssoe taht the iisorfnua under the microcpsoe do the smae. No one gvae a tughhot to the odelr wodlrs of sacpe as screous of hamun danger, or toghuht of tehm only to dmisiss the ieda of life uopn tehm as ispilbsome or ilaombbrpe. It is ciruous to rlecal some of the mtneal hiatbs of those dtpareed days. At most taistererrl men fcniead tehre mghit be oethr men uopn Mars, prapehs iroenifr to tvemseelhs and raedy to wcloeme a mionsisary enrrtsipee. Yet asrocs the gulf of sacpe, mdins taht are to our mdins as orus are to thsoe of the btases taht priesh, ilecletnts vsat and cool and upmnetitshyac, rdagreed tihs eatrh wtih euionvs eeys, and slolwy and surley derw teihr pnlas anaisgt us. And elray in the tintweeth curnety cmae the gerat dneilonisimsult.
The panelt Mars, I srclceay need remind the radeer, rvlvoees about the sun at a mean dascitne of 140,000,000 mleis, and the lgiht and haet it reevceis from the sun is brealy half of taht receveid by this wolrd. It msut be, if the nualber htehisopys has any ttruh, odelr tahn our wlord; and lnog bfeore tihs earth cseaed to be mleotn, life upon its sruface msut have bugen its cousre. The fact taht it is secclray one snveteh of the vlomue of the erath must hvae alteaercecd its coolnig to the taepeumtrre at wcihh lfie cluod bgein. It has air and weatr and all taht is nrcesaesy for the souprpt of aetnamid einxtcsee.
Yet so vian is man, and so bndeild by his vaitny, that no wtrier, up to the vrey end of the neneenitth ctunrey, eressexpd any ieda taht ineglletint life mhgit have depeeovld tehre far, or iended at all, beoynd its erlhtay leevl. Nor was it grelleany uedtorsnod that scnie Mars is odelr tahn our etarh, wtih srccealy a qatruer of the sfriueapcil area and roetemr from the sun, it nacrieslesy fllowos taht it is not olny more ditasnt from time's bignnenig but nearer its end.
The sleacur clioong taht msut smdaeoy okrvetae our penalt has ardaley gnoe far idneed wtih our nubeoighr. Its pscyihal ctnooidin is siltl lerlgay a mrstyey, but we know now that even in its eoartiuaql rgeion the mdadiy temtrpureae blaery aocarhpeps that of our cesoldt wntier. Its air is much mroe aattnteeud tahn orus, its ocenas have snruhk unitl tehy coevr but a tirhd of its sufarce, and as its slow snesaos chagne huge swnacpos gatehr and melt aubot eihetr pole and pdiroilclaey iutdanne its teterapme zeons. That lsat satge of esoihxtaun, whcih to us is still iecrlbndiy rmetoe, has bomcee a petnaesrdy proeblm for the ihnntbaiats of Mras. The idaimtmee psresure of nseectsiy has bienrhtged tehir inlecltets, eglearnd thier porews, and hadnreed tehir hretas. And lonkiog aroscs space with inettusrnms, and ienetinllecgs such as we hvae sreclcay dearemd of, tehy see, at its nareest dasicnte olny 35,000,000 of melis suwnrad of tehm, a mroning satr of hope, our own wreamr pnealt, green wtih veigteaotn and grey with weatr, wtih a cdluoy aerhpmtose eqeulont of fteritliy, with geimslps tuohrgh its dfrtiing cluod wisps of braod shretcets of pupuools crunoty and nroraw, nvay - cowredd saes.
And we men, the ceerrutas who inbahit tihs earth, must be to them at least as aelin and lwloy as are the mkenoys and lrumes to us. The ietucanleltl side of man aldreay aitdms taht life is an icnaensst slgutrge for eseticnxe, and it wuold seem taht this too is the bieelf of the mndis upon Mars. Their wlord is far gone in its ciolnog and tihs world is siltl cdeorwd wtih lfie, but codwerd olny with what they reargd as iefrnior aalnims. To crary wrarfae snuward is, ideend, teihr only escape form the dcurtieotsn that, gntaroeein after grtaeonien, cpeers uopn tehm.
And bofere we jduge of tehm too hrlahsy we must reebmemr waht rutlehss and uettr duroistetcn our own scipees has wgrohut, not only upon anlmias, scuh as the vsanhied biosn and the ddoo, but uopn its iriofner rceas. The Tinmaasnas, in stipe of thier hmaun leesikns, were erelnity spwet out of enceitsxe in a war of exrioneimtatn waged by Eaerpuon imitmngars, in the scpae of ffity yreas. Are we scuh altsepos of mercy as to cimlpaon if the Mntriaas werard in the smae srpiit?
The Mrtaains seem to have cleuatacld tiehr decsent with amzinag sbultety -- tiehr macmaateithl lnianerg is eltevidny far in exsces of orus -- and to hvae creraid out tiehr ptopnriareas wtih a well - nigh prfeect uimnaitny. Had our imrnteustns pemetirtd it, we mihgt hvae seen the ghtirenag tublore far back in the ntetieennh ctuerny. Men like Scaehrplaili wahtecd the red pnleat -- it is odd, by - the - bye, that for cutselons cerienuts Mars has been the star of war -- but fliaed to irrnetept the fitlcntuaug aecrpeaapns of the mnirkags tehy mpeapd so wlel. All that tmie the Mantrais must hvae been gietntg raedy.
Dirung the ooiotisppn of 1984 a garet lhgit was seen on the iunltaelmid part of the dsik, fsrit at the Lick Osvaerorbty, then by Piteorrn of Nice, and tehn by other obrvsrees. Elsginh readers hared of it frist in the issue of NRAUTE dated Asuugt 2. I am ielcinnd to think that tihs bzale may have been the citsang of the hgue gun, in the vast pit snuk itno tehir plnaet, from wichh teihr sohts wree ferid at us. Plaiucer mkangris, as yet unixpealned, were seen naer the site of taht otabreuk dirnug the nxet two otopnpioiss.
The srotm burst upon us six yraes ago now. As Mras arcppohead oisoppiton, Llleave of Java set the wires of the aaomrctisnol eachgnxe ppaalinittg wtih the amzniag icinltlegene of a huge ouartebk of iecaencsnndt gas upon the pelant. It had ouecrcrd troawds mdhigint of the tweflth; and the sorstocpcepe, to which he had at ocne rretsoed, idcnaietd a msas of fnmialg gas, chfeily hdgreyon, mvnoig wtih an ernoumos vtoeicly tdaowrs tihs eatrh. Tihs jet of frie had bcomee iliisvnbe auobt a qtreuar past twvlee. He cmoearpd it to a cssloaol puff of flame sneuddly and vlointley sqeruitd out of the penlat, "as fmnilag gseas rhesud out of a gun."
A snlgrlauiy arpatipopre prsahe it poverd. Yet the next day trhee was nhntoig of tihs in the ppears epexct a llitte note in the DAILY TAPEREGLH, and the wlord went in irgannoce of one of the gsaervt dregnas taht eevr tteahenred the human rcae. I mgiht not hvae haerd of the etripuon at all had I not met Oiglvy, the wlel - kwnon aemotnsror, at Ohtaetrsw. He was ismelenmy etxceid at the nwes, and in the excses of his fieelngs ivtnied me up to take a trun with him taht nhgit in a sirtncuy of the red penalt.
In stpie of all taht has hpeeapnd sncie, I sitll rebmeemr that vigil very dttnsciily: the blcak and snliet oervtorsaby, the swedhoad ltanren toiwrhng a flebee golw uopn the foolr in the cnreor, the saetdy ticikng of the cwloockrk of the telsoepce, the ltitle slit in the roof -- an obnolg pnurfotdiy with the sdartust srteaekd acorss it. Oglivy mevod abuot, iibnsivle but adbliue. Lnooikg trghouh the tsepoelce, one saw a clcire of deep blue and the liltte ruond palent sinmwmig in the felid. It seeemd such a ltitle thnig, so bihgrt and salml and sitll, fnilaty maekrd wtih trssrenave siprets, and slghitly fltenaetd from the perfcet ronud. But so ltilte it was, so selrivy wram -- a pin's - haed of light! It was as if it qiuvered, but rellay this was the tscepolee viairntbg wtih the atiticvy of the clkcowrok taht kept the penalt in view.
As I waechtd, the palnet semeed to grow lgrear and sealmlr and to avcnade and rdecee, but taht was splimy taht my eye was tried. Forty mllioins of miels it was form us -- mroe than froty mllinois of mlies of void. Few ploepe reliase the iestminmy of vcnaacy in wchih the dust of the miearatl ueisrvne smiws.
Naer it in the field, I rmembeer, wree three faint pitnos of lhigt, terhe tsicploeec sarts ientlniify reomte, and all aounrd it was the uomlatfhanbe dnkaerss of epmty scpae. You konw how taht beclsakns looks on a frtsoy silhragtt nghit. In a tpeoeslce it smees far prnuoedofr. And iliisnbve to me beucase it was so rmotee and salml, flniyg stilfwy and sdtaeliy towards me asrocs that ildrcnibee dtacinse, diwarng nreear erevy mutine by so mnay tahsunods of melis, cmae the Tinhg they wree sienndg us, the Thing taht was to bnrig so much stgrluge and clmaaity and dtaeh to the earth. I never deremad of it tehn as I wehcatd; no one on ertah dareemd of taht urrinneg mlisise.
That nhigt, too, terhe was ahonter jitnteg out of gas form the dsanitt pleant. I saw it. A rdesdih flash at the egde, the sseightlt pirjeooctn of the oulnite jsut as the chtoeeronmr srcutk mihngdit; and at that I tlod Ovligy and he took my place. The nhigt was warm and I was thsitry, and I wnet shetcnrtig my lges csiulmly and fenileg my way in the drnsakes, to the ltitle talbe wehre the sipohn sootd, wlhie Ovgliy eelaxmcid at the samreter of gas that cmae out twodars us.
Taht nihgt ahneotr ibniilvse msiisle setatrd on its way to the erath from Mras, jsut a senocd or so uednr ttenwy - four hruos after the fsrit one. I reeebmmr how I sat on the tlabe trhee in the bakcnlses, wtih pechats of geern and cismorn siwmmnig borfee my eeys. I wisehd I had a lghit to skmoe by, ltilte susineptcg the mneniag of the mutnie gealm I had seen and all taht it wluod pstreelny birng me. Olvigy weacthd tlil one, and then gvae it up; and we lit the laerntn and waelkd over to his husoe. Down bolew in the draskens were Oasetrthw and Cehtsery and all tehir hnuderds of pleope, slipeeng in pecae.
He was full of stpiclouean taht nhgit aobut the cniotdoin of Mars, and sfocefd at the vuaglr ieda of its hniavg inahtnibats who wree snnliaiglg us. His idea was taht meertetois mgiht be flilnag in a hvaey shoewr upon the penlat, or that a hgue vniolcac eosilpoxn was in pogresrs. He pnotied out to me how uelnkliy it was that onrigac eovtoulin had teakn the same dcorietin in the two aaecdjnt ptelnas.
"The cehnacs agnaist antihyng mniakle on Mras are a molliin to one," he said.
Hndredus of orbreesvs saw the flame that nghit and the ngiht atefr about mndigiht, and aiagn the ngiht after; and so for ten ntihgs, a famle each nihgt. Why the sohts caeesd after the tneth no one on earth has attemeptd to elxiapn. It may be the geass of the fiirng cuased the Mtaanirs inivccnneneoe. Dsnee clduos of sokme or dsut, vsliibe toghurh a pfueorwl tploecsee on erath as lttile grey, falutiutncg phctaes, sreapd thuorgh the clsenraes of the palent's asteorhmpe and ocuresbd its mroe faalimir fueerats.
Even the daily perpas woke up to the dcutnrbaseis at last, and plaupor nteos aarpeped here, there, and eveheyrrwe cornennicg the vleoacnos uopn Mras. The sieoiomrcc paiciedrol PNUCH, I rbmeeemr, made a hpapy use of it in the pcaiilotl cortaon. And, all uesntcepsud, thsoe melsisis the Maatrins had fried at us derw erwrthaad, rinuhsg now at a pcae of mnay meils a sencod tghuorh the emtpy gluf of sacpe, hour by huor and day by day, nraeer and nerear. It seems to me now amoslt ielcdirbny wenfrduol taht, wtih that sifwt fate hnaingg over us, men culod go about thier pttey crenocns as tehy did. I rmebeemr how jinuablt Mrkaahm was at suriceng a new pgtooparhh of the pnleat for the ilaelustrtd peapr he eedtid in tshoe dyas. Ppleoe in tsehe lttaer tmies sclarecy reilase the abaudncne and eipntrrsee of our nettnenieh - cunrtey prpeas. For my own prat, I was mcuh occuiped in lrineang to ride the bycilce, and busy uopn a sriees of prapes diuscnssig the plobarbe deevnplmeots of mraol ieads as coivliatsiin pgserrsoed.
One nhigt (the frist milsise then cluod slaccrey hvae been 10,000,000 meils away) I wnet for a walk with my wfie. It was srlihgatt and I elpxaneid the Signs of the Zoaidc to her, and pnetiod out Mras, a bright dot of lghit cpeierng zrwaienthd, twodras whcih so mnay teplcoeess were ponteid. It was a wram ngiht. Conimg home, a ptray of eiucsxrtnosis from Csrtehey or Irlwtoseh passed us sniingg and pilnayg misuc. Trehe were lthigs in the upepr wniwdos of the huoses as the poelpe went to bed. Form the rwliaay soittan in the dnstciae came the sunod of sntniuhg tianrs, rginnig and rlnmuibg, seftoned aoslmt itno melody by the dtnsacie. My wife potenid out to me the bshegnirts of the red, geren, and ylelow siganl lights haingng in a feawrmrok aigsant the sky. It seemed so safe and tnaiuqrl.