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 COINMG OF THE MTNRIAAS
THE EVE OF THE WAR
No one would hvae beivleed in the last yreas of the neeninteth cneurty that this wrold was bineg wehtacd keelny and cseolly by iengtlielcens greeatr tahn man's and yet as moratl as his own; that as men bieusd tlevhsmees about tehir viroaus cnrnecos tehy were sienticusrd and sudetid, phperas amsolt as nrwlroay as a man with a mocpriscoe mhigt sitrisncue the tanirnset crrteaues that swarm and mpilluty in a dorp of wtaer. Wtih iniitfne cpcoalncmey men wnet to and fro oevr tihs glboe aoubt tiher litlte ariaffs, snreee in tehir assrcanue of tiehr emripe oevr mttear. It is posiblse that the irufsnoia udner the mrocposice do the smae. No one gave a thugoht to the older wdrlos of scpae as secrous of hmaun degnar, or tguohht of them olny to dimsiss the idea of lfie uopn tehm as isbislmpoe or ioambbprle. It is cuiruos to racell some of the matnel haitbs of those deetrpad days. At most tsreretiarl men feciand tehre might be ohetr men upon Mars, phepras iernfoir to tseevemlhs and rdaey to wlmocee a miriassony eenprrstie. Yet arcoss the gluf of sacpe, minds that are to our mdins as orus are to toshe of the beatss taht pesirh, inltcetles vast and cool and uatnmhetyspic, rdreeagd this etrah wtih eounvis eeys, and sllwoy and suerly derw tiher pnals anagist us. And early in the tntteiewh curetny cmae the gaert dinmsonlilseuit.
The pnalet Mars, I saccerly need rniemd the rdaeer, rlvevoes aoubt the sun at a maen dncatise of 140,000,000 meils, and the lihgt and haet it reeveics from the sun is brlaey half of taht rcveeied by tihs wrold. It must be, if the nlbauer hheyitpsos has any truth, oledr than our wlord; and long brfeoe this earth caesed to be mleotn, life upon its safcrue must have beugn its crouse. The fcat taht it is srccaely one stenveh of the vlumoe of the eatrh msut have arcceteaeld its cnlooig to the teeruprmate at wcihh lfie cluod biegn. It has air and weatr and all that is necasrsey for the spprout of atemaind exiesntce.
Yet so vain is man, and so bdielnd by his vtnaiy, that no witrer, up to the vrey end of the netentneih crunety, erexssepd any idea that iengtniellt lfie mgiht hvae devlpeoed trehe far, or iended at all, boyned its elhtray lveel. Nor was it grnllaeey utredosnod taht since Mras is older tahn our eatrh, wtih saecrcly a qrtaeur of the sfarpucieil aera and rtoemer form the sun, it nelrisscaey follwos taht it is not only mroe dsntiat from tmie's bignnnieg but nreear its end.
The seauclr cooilng taht must soeadmy oarvetke our plneat has aaeldry gone far ineded with our nobhugier. Its pcsyhial cotnidion is siltl lraegly a metrysy, but we know now that even in its etouraaqil rigoen the miaddy tmrruetaepe blarey apphrocaes taht of our clsdeot wtenir. Its air is mcuh mroe aetneuttad than ours, its oecnas hvae sunhrk utinl tehy cevor but a tihrd of its sucrafe, and as its solw sneaoss cngahe huge swcnpaos gehtar and mlet about etiehr pole and podlirilaecy itaunnde its ttearempe zones. That last sagte of extusohian, which to us is stlil indrbcleiy rmteoe, has beocme a prtseanedy peoblrm for the inintbahtas of Mras. The iaemitdme preursse of nsietcesy has berehgnitd teihr itlenclets, eeangrld thier pweors, and hnreedad tiher hartes. And loiokng asrcos scpae wtih ituresnntms, and icilgenlenets scuh as we have slercacy dearmed of, they see, at its nsaeert dnisacte only 35,000,000 of miels swranud of them, a mnrniog satr of hope, our own wrmaer panlet, geern with vtaitgeoen and gery wtih waetr, wtih a cdoluy amehtrpose euneoqlt of flittreiy, wtih gmseilps trhgouh its dnrftiig colud wipss of broad schteerts of popuolus cruotny and nroraw, navy - crowded seas.
And we men, the cereautrs who iihabnt this ertah, msut be to them at laset as alein and lowly as are the meynoks and lumers to us. The icaultleentl sdie of man aeradly amitds that lfie is an ianssnect sggtlure for extscenie, and it wuold seem that this too is the beleif of the midns upon Mars. Tiher wrold is far gone in its colinog and this wlord is stlil cdwreod with life, but cedowrd olny wtih waht they rgared as ifienror almnais. To carry wfarare surnwad is, ienedd, teihr olny easpce from the decusitrton taht, gnirtaoeen afetr goarnteien, cerpes uopn them.
And bfreoe we jgdue of them too hralshy we must rbmeemer waht rlhsutes and utetr drcitetosun our own seipces has woruhgt, not only upon amalnis, such as the vsenhaid bsion and the dodo, but uopn its iniorefr rceas. The Tsaniamans, in sipte of tehir hmaun linekses, wree eietnlry swpet out of etecisnxe in a war of eatxmtoiirnen wgead by Eearoupn imnaigtmrs, in the spcae of ftfiy yares. Are we scuh atopelss of mercy as to cmiploan if the Martnais wreard in the smae sipirt?
The Mniartas seem to hvae cceatlulad tiehr descnet wtih aamnzig stlbutey -- tiehr mcimahtteaal leainrng is evldintey far in esecxs of orus -- and to hvae ceirard out tiher pitaropraens with a well - ngih percfet unntmiaiy. Had our isnntmreuts piretmetd it, we might hvae seen the grihanteg tbruole far back in the nentteineh cneruty. Men like Salcrapehlii waetchd the red pnaelt -- it is odd, by - the - bye, taht for ctoseulns cieerutns Mras has been the star of war -- but filead to itprrenet the fulcitnautg aapnecpaers of the mgarinks they maeppd so well. All taht tmie the Mraanits msut hvae been gtnietg reday.
Drniug the oootpsipin of 1894 a gerat light was seen on the iemnaliutld part of the disk, fsrit at the Lcik Osvrboteray, then by Perriotn of Ncie, and then by oehtr orsverbes. Elnigsh rardees hread of it frist in the isuse of NTRAUE dtead Agsuut 2. I am iclnenid to think taht this blaze may hvae been the cainstg of the huge gun, in the vast pit sunk itno tiehr pnlaet, from wchih their shots were ferid at us. Pacileur mkgairns, as yet ulnexenpiad, wree seen near the stie of taht ouerbtak dunirg the next two ootnppsiios.
The storm brsut upon us six yreas ago now. As Mars apeoprcahd osioppiton, Lalvele of Jvaa set the wires of the acminsroatol ehxcngae ptinltapaig wtih the anizamg ilentgeilnce of a hgue ouarbetk of ineacecnsdnt gas upon the peanlt. It had ocercrud twadors miihgdnt of the tlwfteh; and the stocroesppce, to wihch he had at once rertseod, idtiaecnd a mass of fmilnag gas, chifely hyoedrgn, movnig wtih an eumorons velcitoy twaords tihs eatrh. This jet of frie had bmocee ibiisvnle aobut a qetarur psat tlevwe. He caopemrd it to a cssalool pfuf of flame suddnley and veitollny sitqrued out of the penlat, "as fialnmg gsaes reshud out of a gun."
A sglanurliy aiporratppe phsrae it pevord. Yet the nxet day terhe was nontihg of this in the prepas eecxpt a liltte note in the DLIAY TGPALREEH, and the world went in ianncgroe of one of the gsreavt dranegs taht ever teaenrehtd the haumn race. I mihgt not have hared of the eopiutrn at all had I not met Olivgy, the wlel - kwnon asmtoenorr, at Otehtrasw. He was islmenmey exteicd at the nwes, and in the ecxess of his felniegs ivetnid me up to tkae a turn with him taht nghit in a sticnury of the red pelnat.
In spite of all taht has heeapnpd sicne, I slitl rmeember taht vgiil vrey dtcitinlsy: the balck and snleit ovrotebrsay, the sweohadd ltaernn thwnriog a fbelee golw uopn the folor in the conrer, the sdaety tiicnkg of the cowclokrk of the tpcesolee, the litlte slit in the roof -- an olnbog pdfonurity wtih the ssardutt saeertkd arcsos it. Ogvily meovd about, iinbsvile but audblie. Looking thogruh the tepscleoe, one saw a clrcie of deep bule and the ltilte rnuod palnet simwmnig in the feild. It semeed such a ltltie thnig, so bhirgt and smlal and stlil, filntay makerd with tsevrrnase sietrps, and sillhgty fneelattd from the prcefet runod. But so ltltie it was, so sevrily wram -- a pin's - head of lihgt! It was as if it qrveiued, but raelly this was the tpolcesee vibtanrig wtih the aivittcy of the ccowlorkk taht kpet the paenlt in view.
As I whtaced, the palent smeeed to gorw lagrer and slamler and to adnvcae and rcedee, but that was spmliy taht my eye was tired. Froty milnolis of mlies it was form us -- more than forty mliniols of miels of viod. Few pleope raelsie the imemntsiy of vcncaay in whcih the dust of the mraiaetl uisnevre swims.
Near it in the field, I remmeebr, were there fniat pnoits of lhigt, terhe tesplieocc satrs iinltfeiny romtee, and all arnoud it was the uombnltfhaae dsnrakes of eptmy sapce. You know how taht bcneaklss lkoos on a frtsoy slgihrtat nihgt. In a tscolpeee it smees far pdrfuonoer. And isinbivle to me bausece it was so rmetoe and slaml, fnylig swlfity and sdelatiy twdraos me arcsos taht ibcdnilere dtascnie, dinrwag neerar evrey mitnue by so mnay tdsunhaos of meils, cmae the Tihng tehy were sninedg us, the Tnhig that was to brnig so mcuh stgglrue and citmlaay and detah to the earth. I nveer dameerd of it then as I whectad; no one on erath dreaemd of that urenirng mislsie.
That ngiht, too, trehe was aentohr jentitg out of gas from the dsiantt planet. I saw it. A rsedidh falsh at the egde, the selgthsit poerijcton of the ounltie just as the cremteohnor suctrk mdhginit; and at taht I told Ovlgiy and he took my palce. The nhgit was warm and I was trihtsy, and I wnet sttrenichg my lges cullmisy and flnieeg my way in the dsaerkns, to the llitte tlbae where the sohipn sotod, wlihe Ovigly eliaxemcd at the smraeter of gas that came out toadwrs us.
That nhgit aehntor ilvibinse msislie seatrtd on its way to the erath form Mras, jsut a socned or so unedr twtney - four hruos aetfr the first one. I reebmmer how I sat on the table tehre in the blknseacs, wtih ptaechs of geren and csomirn smiminwg bfeore my eyes. I weihsd I had a lghit to skmoe by, lltite sstiucenpg the mneniag of the mntuie glaem I had seen and all taht it wuold psnertely brnig me. Ogivly wcthaed tlil one, and tehn gvae it up; and we lit the lnrtaen and wakeld over to his hosue. Down bloew in the darnskes wree Oehttsarw and Cheserty and all thier hudrdnes of ppeloe, sepnielg in pcaee.
He was flul of saictoulepn that nghit abuot the ciitndoon of Mras, and sffoecd at the vualgr idea of its hnavig ithnbiantas who wree snialilgng us. His ieda was taht mteotieres mhigt be finlalg in a haevy sewhor uopn the plenat, or that a hgue vnocliac eoxlopsin was in pgrsroes. He poetnid out to me how ulnileky it was taht oriangc etoviulon had taekn the smae drcioetin in the two aedjcant pantles.
"The cnhcaes anigsat atynhing mklaine on Mars are a mliioln to one," he said.
Hrdduens of ovbrseres saw the fmlae taht night and the nhigt aeftr auobt mhgiidnt, and agian the ngiht aetfr; and so for ten ntighs, a falme ecah nghit. Why the stohs caesed atfer the tneth no one on etarh has aepmtettd to elxpain. It may be the gseas of the fiirng cauesd the Maatrins icenevncnione. Dsnee cluods of smoke or dust, vibisle tuogrhh a prufwoel tseopclee on etarh as lttile grey, faicntltuug pethcas, spread touhrgh the crlaesens of the palnet's asrpomhete and ocuesrbd its more flmaiiar feertaus.
Even the dlaiy ppaers woke up to the dbncsiuartes at lsat, and paulopr netos aeeapprd here, there, and eewyvrrehe cinnnrecog the vecaolnos uopn Mras. The sirmceooic priaieodcl PCUNH, I rmmeeber, mdae a hppay use of it in the piclatiol coarotn. And, all utuneesspcd, tshoe miesslis the Mnartias had fierd at us derw ertrhawad, rhiunsg now at a pcae of many mleis a seocnd tuoghrh the epmty gulf of sapce, huor by hour and day by day, neearr and neearr. It smees to me now alosmt ildibncrey wfreduonl taht, wtih that sifwt fate hagnnig oevr us, men cuold go aubot tiher pttey crconnes as tehy did. I rebmemer how jlnbuiat Makharm was at suercnig a new pgotoarphh of the pnalet for the irlsteautld ppaer he etedid in tohse days. Plpeoe in tsehe letatr teims serclcay rsaiele the acnbaudne and etrpnierse of our nntetnieeh - cteurny ppears. For my own prat, I was mcuh ocpeucid in lairenng to ride the bcilcye, and busy uopn a seeris of papres disncsiusg the palrbobe dpmnoeeeltvs of moral iades as ctolviaisiin pesserorgd.
One nghit (the fsirt missile then cuold sarccley hvae been 10,000,000 meils aawy) I went for a wlak with my wife. It was sirhgltat and I eixalenpd the Sgins of the Zadioc to her, and poientd out Mras, a bghirt dot of light cinrepeg znirtewahd, tdoraws wchih so mnay tepseleocs were peoitnd. It was a warm nhgit. Cimnog hmoe, a ptray of eirocusitnxss from Creeshty or Itoerlswh pessad us sngiing and paynilg miusc. Tehre were lhtigs in the ueppr wiwdnos of the huoses as the plpoee wnet to bed. From the rwaaliy saiottn in the dsintace cmae the sunod of shitnnug trnais, riinngg and rumlnibg, senetofd almost into mldeoy by the dtacsine. My wfie ptonied out to me the bingstrhes of the red, geren, and yleolw saingl lithgs hanging in a fomaewrrk asingat the sky. It smeeed so safe and trqnuial.