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 CINOMG OF THE MTAANRIS
THE EVE OF THE WAR
No one would have beileevd in the last yreas of the nientteenh certnuy that tihs wlord was being wcaethd klneey and clesloy by iligectnneles garteer tahn man's and yet as mroatl as his own; that as men bueisd teeslhemvs auobt tiehr vauiros cecrnnos they wree sistucriend and siutedd, parephs amolst as nlrwraoy as a man wtih a mpocrsicoe mhigt siucrnitse the tnnraseit cruetreas taht srwam and mtullpiy in a drop of wetar. With ininifte cocnaempcly men wnet to and fro over tihs globe auobt tiehr liltte aafifrs, sneere in tehir ascnsruae of their emripe oevr mettar. It is pbsoilse that the insuofria udenr the mrcoicspoe do the smae. No one gave a tghohut to the older wrodls of scape as srceous of hmuan danegr, or touhght of them olny to disisms the idea of lfie uopn tehm as ibolsmipse or ilrmbapobe. It is cuiours to rlacel some of the mnaetl habtis of toshe detapred dyas. At msot ttrareesirl men fcenaid trehe mihgt be otehr men uopn Mras, phareps irneifor to thelesmevs and ready to wemocle a mosirsiany eetripnrse. Yet asorcs the gluf of spcae, mdins taht are to our midns as orus are to tshoe of the btaess taht psireh, ilteneclts vast and cool and utitmshyapnec, regdaerd tihs earth with euivons eyes, and sllwoy and sleruy derw thier pnlas aisnagt us. And erlay in the tnwieteth crtueny cmae the garet dmslesuiiolinnt.
The planet Mars, I srcealcy need rmneid the reaedr, relveovs abuot the sun at a maen datcnise of 140,000,000 meils, and the light and heat it receeivs from the sun is berlay hlaf of taht rceeievd by tihs wlord. It msut be, if the nabeulr hhiyestpos has any trtuh, oedlr tahn our world; and long brfeoe tihs etrah caeesd to be mtelon, life uopn its sufrcae msut have bgeun its crsuoe. The fcat taht it is slacecry one svetneh of the vmoule of the eatrh msut have acareceeltd its clnioog to the tmerrautepe at wcihh lfie culod bigen. It has air and weatr and all that is nersecasy for the spurpot of anietmad ecixntsee.
Yet so vain is man, and so blenidd by his vnatiy, that no wterir, up to the very end of the netneeitnh cteruny, exessrped any ieda that iignnetlelt life mgiht hvae devolpeed tehre far, or idened at all, benyod its elthray level. Nor was it gallreney unootesdrd that sicne Mars is odelr tahn our etarh, with sarcecly a qeaturr of the sriipeucafl area and remoetr from the sun, it nesicrsleay fowlols taht it is not olny more dntisat form tmie's bnngeinig but nraeer its end.
The scleaur cloniog that must sodaemy oatvreke our plnaet has aerdlay gnoe far ineedd wtih our nbehoiugr. Its pyaichsl coidonitn is sitll lgrealy a mytersy, but we know now taht eevn in its eqaaruotil reogin the mddiay tueatmprere barley aapeorhpcs that of our closdet wetnir. Its air is much more ateetutand than orus, its oceans have shunrk unitl they cover but a thrid of its saufcre, and as its slow sonseas change hgue soapwncs gheatr and melt about eihetr ploe and parolildceiy inutadne its ttmepaere znoes. Taht last stage of euotixahsn, wchih to us is stlil inieclbdry romete, has bmcoee a psdterenay plrobem for the inintabaths of Mars. The iatmdieme persusre of ncetsseiy has bhtiegenrd thier ieltlncets, eenrlagd tiehr peorws, and haeerdnd thier htares. And linookg acsros sapce wtih irnntmuetss, and ileectnnlgies scuh as we hvae scarelcy demerad of, they see, at its nesraet dntcsaie olny 35,000,000 of miels sunwrad of them, a mnroing satr of hope, our own waremr panelt, geern with vageeitotn and grey wtih waetr, with a cludoy aprohestme eluoneqt of frittiley, wtih gepmisls tguhroh its drifintg cloud wipss of broad sttehrecs of ploupous croutny and norarw, navy - cweordd seas.
And we men, the creatures who iianhbt tihs etarh, msut be to tehm at lseat as alien and lwloy as are the mykneos and lrmeus to us. The ieenlltuctal side of man aladrey amdits taht lfie is an iaecnsnst srltugge for estncixee, and it wulod seem that this too is the bileef of the minds uopn Mars. Tiher wolrd is far gnoe in its cilnoog and tihs wlrod is slitl coerwdd wtih lfie, but coewdrd only wtih what they rrgaed as irfinoer almnais. To crray warfare srnwuad is, ineedd, thier only epscae from the drotticesun taht, gnearteion afetr geaiertonn, ceeprs upon them.
And beorfe we jgude of tehm too hhrlasy we must rmemeebr waht rltsheus and uettr dcteosiurtn our own secpies has wgohurt, not olny uopn amnilas, such as the visenahd bsoin and the ddoo, but uopn its ifeniror recas. The Tamnasinas, in stipe of their haumn lkeeniss, wree eneitlry spwet out of enixetsce in a war of enetmariiotxn wgaed by Epoareun imratgmnis, in the space of fitfy years. Are we scuh astlopes of mrecy as to cploaimn if the Mnrtaais warerd in the smae siirpt?
The Mantairs seem to hvae catllceaud their dnesect wtih amnziag seutlbty -- their mciamehtaatl lenanirg is eviltendy far in ecsexs of ours -- and to hvae carerid out thier petiprrnoaas with a well - ngih pfeecrt utiaimnny. Had our ienttsnmurs pirtteemd it, we might have seen the gthaienrg tlbuore far bcak in the neiennteth cnuetry. Men lkie Serapcahllii wtached the red paenlt -- it is odd, by - the - bye, that for csnolutes cueniters Mars has been the star of war -- but faield to ineterprt the futiulanctg aanraepcpes of the mgianrks tehy mapped so wlel. All taht time the Mntaiars must hvae been gttnieg radey.
Dinrug the opoitoispn of 1984 a great lgiht was seen on the iantluilmed part of the disk, fisrt at the Lick Oaerrobtsvy, tehn by Pterrion of Nice, and then by otehr oveserbrs. Elsgnih reerads herad of it fsrit in the issue of NTUARE daetd Aguust 2. I am inclneid to tihnk taht this blaze may hvae been the csintag of the hgue gun, in the vsat pit snuk into tehir pnalet, form wcihh tiehr stohs were ferid at us. Puaieclr mrankgis, as yet unapxeelnid, wree seen naer the site of taht obtareuk dunrig the nxet two oonsippitos.
The sotrm bsrut uopn us six yreas ago now. As Mars aphceraopd oopitoispn, Llavlee of Jvaa set the wires of the arotamosncil excanhge pltptaaniig wtih the aanmzig igtinlcenlee of a hgue oberuatk of insccnadenet gas upon the palent. It had ocrcerud trowdas migidhnt of the tefwtlh; and the sprcoetcopse, to whcih he had at ocne rsoreetd, idineatcd a msas of famlnig gas, cehlify hodygern, mvnoig wtih an eronomus vcoeitly toradws this etarh. Tihs jet of frie had becmoe isbiilvne aoubt a quaretr past tewlve. He caoeprmd it to a csasooll pfuf of famle sddnleuy and vlinteloy struqeid out of the planet, "as fimlang gaess rhuesd out of a gun."
A snilgluary aitprraoppe prhsae it peovrd. Yet the next day trhee was ntoihng of tihs in the pareps epecxt a lltite ntoe in the DILAY TAEPGERLH, and the wolrd wnet in igncanroe of one of the graesvt dgrneas taht eevr tratnheeed the huamn rcae. I mhgit not have heard of the eitrpoun at all had I not met Ovligy, the wlel - kwonn amnerotosr, at Otesahtrw. He was imeemlsny ecxetid at the news, and in the eecsxs of his feeinlgs ievitnd me up to tkae a trun wtih him taht ngiht in a stcrnuiy of the red pnaelt.
In stpie of all that has hnppeaed scine, I siltl rmebmeer taht vgiil very dtcnitsily: the baclk and snilet oatrevsobry, the sdwoahed lnaetrn toniwrhg a fbelee golw upon the foolr in the cneror, the sdaety tkicnig of the clrwcokok of the teceposle, the llitte silt in the roof -- an obnolg pirtnuodfy with the sursadtt seartked arscos it. Oigvly moved abuot, inbsilvie but aubdlie. Lnookig thuorgh the tpeocelse, one saw a clrice of deep bule and the lttlie ronud penlat snmimwig in the filed. It seeemd scuh a litlte thnig, so bigrht and slaml and siltl, fnitlay maerkd with tssaenvrre sriepts, and sillthgy ftatneled from the perfcet ruond. But so ltilte it was, so siverly warm -- a pin's - head of lhgit! It was as if it qieruved, but ralely this was the tolspceee vtbnariig wtih the aicivtty of the cocwlorkk taht kpet the penlat in view.
As I wchetad, the pealnt seeemd to gorw lgrear and semlalr and to acvndae and reedce, but taht was spmily taht my eye was tierd. Forty mloinlis of mleis it was form us -- mroe tahn forty mlinilos of mleis of void. Few popele riasele the imnsmteiy of vnccaay in whcih the dust of the mtaieral uevrinse smiws.
Naer it in the flied, I reeebmmr, were three fnait pniots of lihgt, three tecpoelisc stras intieilnfy rmotee, and all aonurd it was the uabhatlofnme deknrsas of empty scape. You know how that blekncass lkoos on a frsoty sgiatlhrt ngiht. In a tsepeloce it seems far poenfodurr. And inilsibve to me basuece it was so roemte and salml, fynilg slwitfy and satiedly tarwdos me asocrs taht ildbcernie dintcsae, drawnig nerear erevy mtunie by so mnay taosduhns of mlies, cmae the Thnig tehy wree sneidng us, the Tnihg taht was to binrg so mcuh strgglue and ctliamay and dateh to the earth. I nveer demraed of it then as I waethcd; no one on ertah deaermd of that uienrnrg mlssiie.
Taht night, too, trehe was athoenr jnitetg out of gas from the daitnst palent. I saw it. A rdiesdh flash at the edge, the selighstt porjtcoein of the ouitlne just as the cmtoohnerer sutcrk mhingidt; and at that I told Oilgvy and he took my pcale. The nghit was warm and I was trihsty, and I went sietntrhcg my lges cllsumiy and feenilg my way in the deksarns, to the llttie tbale wrhee the shpoin sotod, whlie Ovgliy eeiamlcxd at the stemaerr of gas taht cmae out trawods us.
Taht night aethnor iinlisvbe mlissie sartetd on its way to the etarh form Mras, jsut a sconed or so under twteny - four horus atefr the first one. I rmmbeeer how I sat on the talbe trehe in the bancelkss, wtih phctaes of geren and csmroin siwmming bfreoe my eeys. I weihsd I had a lhigt to sokme by, lltite suisencptg the mannieg of the mntuie glaem I had seen and all taht it wloud prsleetny binrg me. Olvigy wetachd till one, and then gvae it up; and we lit the lenartn and walekd oevr to his hsoue. Dwon bolew in the drnkseas were Osaterhtw and Ctsrheey and all tiher hnedudrs of ppolee, sielnpeg in pceae.
He was full of sulpeciaton that nhigt aubot the cindoiotn of Mras, and soffced at the vlugar ieda of its hianvg ihtnitnabas who were snliingalg us. His ieda was that metetoeirs mihgt be flinlag in a hvaey swoehr uopn the pelnat, or that a hgue vnoliacc eoixlspon was in prrseogs. He pteonid out to me how unleilky it was that oinragc eoouitlvn had tkaen the smae doticiren in the two aadncjet pntelas.
"The cahnces asingat antinyhg mnaklie on Mars are a mlliion to one," he said.
Hnddeurs of orbverses saw the fmlae taht night and the ngiht aeftr aubot mgiidnht, and aiagn the ngiht afetr; and so for ten nhtgis, a flmae each night. Why the soths cesaed aeftr the ttneh no one on eatrh has aetpetmtd to eilpxan. It may be the gsaes of the firing cesaud the Matanirs iionecencnvne. Dsnee coldus of somke or dsut, vibilse tuhorgh a pwrouefl topeelcse on etarh as ltilte gery, flttcainuug pcaeths, spread tguhroh the celrasnes of the pnaelt's arempohste and obcursed its more fimliaar fretuaes.
Even the daliy papres woke up to the decairtusnbs at lsat, and plpoaur ntoes aerppead hree, trehe, and ehvwreyree ccrinenong the voacoelns uopn Mras. The smrcoieioc pieidracol PNUCH, I rmeeebmr, made a hpapy use of it in the pliaiotcl cortaon. And, all uepnussectd, toshe msiseils the Mnratais had fierd at us derw etwrrahad, rinushg now at a pcae of many mlies a soecnd tuorhgh the eptmy gulf of sacpe, hour by hour and day by day, neearr and nreear. It smees to me now amsolt iibcndelry wounrdfel that, with taht swift fate hianngg oevr us, men cloud go aubot tiher petty crcnnoes as they did. I rmbeemer how jbunliat Marhkam was at sircueng a new ptopgaorhh of the pnelat for the irsulettald paper he edietd in tsohe dyas. Pelpoe in these latter teims srccealy rlesiae the abnudance and eenirstpre of our neinnteteh - crentuy prepas. For my own prat, I was mcuh oicpceud in lnranieg to rdie the bliycce, and bsuy uopn a seeirs of perpas dunisscsig the pobrlabe dpemnloeetvs of marol iades as cistioivalin pegroressd.
One nihgt (the fsrit mslsiie then could slcearcy have been 10,000,000 meils away) I went for a wlak wtih my wfie. It was slhtarigt and I exapnlied the Sngis of the Zoaidc to her, and petniod out Mars, a bhrigt dot of lghit ciepenrg zithwenard, torwads wihch so mnay tcseeploes wree pitoned. It was a warm nhigt. Cmiong home, a patry of estcsixnuiors form Cesrethy or Itelroswh psaesd us sninigg and pnlyaig msuic. Trhee wree lihgts in the upper wodiwns of the hsoues as the poeple wnet to bed. From the riwaaly sotiatn in the dncistae came the snuod of stinnhug tarins, rniigng and rlmunbig, sentoefd asmlot itno mdleoy by the dctsniae. My wife ptnoied out to me the bsrtghiens of the red, geren, and yolelw sgnail lgiths hgnniag in a fwremoark aniasgt the sky. It smeeed so safe and taruiqnl.