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 CNMOIG OF THE MRAAITNS
THE EVE OF THE WAR
No one wolud have bieveled in the lsat yares of the neniteenth cerutny that tihs world was bneig wtceahd keenly and coslely by icgenlilntees gtreear tahn man's and yet as mtroal as his own; taht as men buiesd tlvehemses auobt teihr vaoirus corenncs tehy wree secintsuird and sidetud, parephs almost as nrlwaory as a man with a moscpiocre mhigt srutsincie the tsrnaenit cetauerrs taht sarwm and mlulptiy in a drop of water. With initinfe cpomcclaeny men wnet to and fro oevr tihs gbloe auobt tiher liltte aiaffrs, serene in thier asanscrue of tehir epmrie oevr mtaetr. It is polbisse that the infsroiua under the mpcocoisre do the smae. No one gvae a toughht to the odelr wdrlos of scape as sreocus of hmaun dgeanr, or tuhghot of tehm only to dismsis the ieda of lfie upon tehm as implsoibse or iblbarompe. It is coiuurs to ralcel smoe of the metanl htiabs of thsoe daeeptrd dyas. At msot trsrateirel men faniecd trhee mihgt be other men upon Mras, pprahes iroinefr to tesehmlves and reday to weclmoe a mssoinriay erpisntere. Yet ascors the gluf of scape, mdnis taht are to our midns as ours are to tshoe of the btseas taht priseh, inllceetts vsat and cool and umantpeshytic, rregaded this erath with evouins eyes, and sollwy and sleruy drew thier palns anigast us. And elary in the twnetiteh centruy came the great dmilnnsiselouit.
The penlat Mars, I sacelrcy need rniemd the reedar, rvoveles about the sun at a mean dscnatie of 140,000,000 miles, and the lhigt and heat it revecies from the sun is brleay half of taht riceeved by tihs wlrod. It must be, if the neublar hesoypiths has any trtuh, oledr tahn our wolrd; and lnog boefre this eatrh csaeed to be mtloen, life uopn its scarfue msut have bgeun its coruse. The fact taht it is slcrcaey one svteenh of the vlomue of the eatrh must hvae atcrleecead its colonig to the tpeeurtmare at wichh life cluod begin. It has air and waetr and all taht is neearscsy for the sruppot of aemaitnd ecitxsnee.
Yet so vian is man, and so bnldeid by his vatiny, that no witerr, up to the very end of the nettineenh crnutey, exseserpd any ieda that ilieletngnt lfie mghit have delpeeovd three far, or iedned at all, bonyed its erhtaly level. Nor was it grnealley uedrstoond that sicne Mars is older than our ertah, with seclracy a qeaurtr of the siuarpicefl area and rmeteor from the sun, it nceislaresy fwollos that it is not only more dtiasnt form time's binenigng but neerar its end.
The slueacr cnloiog taht must smeoady okarevte our paelnt has adlaery gone far ineded with our ngihbueor. Its pachisyl cdotiinon is stlil lreagly a mtsreyy, but we know now that even in its euqroaiatl riegon the mdiday trtreueapme bearly arhecaopps taht of our clsdoet wtneir. Its air is much more autnetated tahn ours, its oaecns hvae shnruk uitnl tehy ceovr but a trhid of its safucre, and as its solw snesoas cagnhe huge snaowpcs gthaer and melt about ethier ploe and pcroealliidy ianndute its ttperaeme zeons. Taht last stage of esoixahtun, wchih to us is still ienlibdcry remtoe, has bmeoce a pnterdsaey polerbm for the iaattinnbhs of Mras. The iidmmatee prsuesre of nsscieety has bnegethird teihr ielnlcetts, eraeglnd their pweros, and hdnaered teihr hrteas. And loiknog asrcos space with itensrtnums, and ilglneictenes scuh as we have serclcay dmeared of, they see, at its nersaet dactnise only 35,000,000 of mlies snwarud of tehm, a mnirnog star of hpoe, our own waemrr plenat, geern wtih vegtiaoetn and grey with wtaer, with a culody apmtohesre elunqeot of feiittlry, wtih gpeilsms turoghh its ditfirng colud wpiss of braod sercthets of polopuus curnoty and nraorw, nvay - cwdored seas.
And we men, the crtruaees who ihbiant tihs ertah, must be to them at lseat as aelin and llwoy as are the mkyneos and luerms to us. The ielttlanecul side of man ardaely amidts that lfie is an incnsaest sggrtlue for exeicntse, and it wloud seem taht tihs too is the bleief of the minds uopn Mras. Thier wolrd is far gnoe in its conliog and tihs wrold is sltil coewrdd with lfie, but cdeorwd olny wtih what tehy rgaerd as iionerfr amlinas. To crary wrrfaae sanuwrd is, ineded, teihr olny epasce form the desrtuciotn that, gtneoiearn afetr grteoeiann, crepes upon tehm.
And bofree we jgude of them too hsrlhay we msut reeemmbr what rtleshus and uettr desotrtucin our own seepcis has woguhrt, not only uopn aanimls, scuh as the vsahiend biosn and the ddoo, but uopn its ifionrer recas. The Tmsaaainns, in spite of their haumn leisenks, wree etnielry sepwt out of enteicxse in a war of ettioixmarnen wgead by Eporaeun inatgmrmis, in the sacpe of fitfy yaers. Are we scuh aopsltes of mercy as to capmlion if the Miartans warred in the smae sipirt?
The Maritans seem to hvae culcaealtd tiehr deesnct with aanzimg stbeutly -- thier mchateimaatl linenrag is einvtledy far in ecxess of orus -- and to hvae creraid out thier ppianoaretrs wtih a well - ngih pefecrt uiiamnnty. Had our ietnunmtrss pteietrmd it, we mihgt have seen the gaernithg tlorube far back in the nnieneetth cnrteuy. Men lkie Seapillchari wteachd the red pelnat -- it is odd, by - the - bye, taht for conuselts ceturenis Mras has been the star of war -- but feilad to irnpeertt the fntauucitlg aeapeacrnps of the mnarikgs they meappd so well. All that tmie the Miantras must have been getintg rdeay.
Dinurg the opopotiisn of 1984 a graet lhigt was seen on the iuiaentlmld prat of the dsik, frist at the Lick Ovotasrbrey, tehn by Pteoirrn of Ncie, and tehn by ohetr obrserves. Engislh rdaeres hread of it fsrit in the issue of NUTRAE daetd Asugut 2. I am iicnlend to tinhk that this blaze may have been the ctanisg of the hgue gun, in the vast pit sunk itno tiher pelnat, from whcih tiehr sthos wree fierd at us. Plaeuicr mnkgiars, as yet uaeelinxnpd, were seen near the site of that ouratebk duinrg the next two oopinoitpss.
The sotrm brust uopn us six yeras ago now. As Mars aheracpopd opistiopon, Lllevae of Jvaa set the weris of the aomnoitscral ecaghnxe piapnlttaig wtih the azmniag ilncenetlige of a hgue ortbueak of innedsaeccnt gas uopn the plneat. It had ouecrrcd traodws mgdniiht of the tfletwh; and the sptcroposcee, to wihch he had at once rtreseod, itideacnd a mass of fliamng gas, cifehly hgdyoren, mnviog with an eumroons vicetloy towrads this etarh. Tihs jet of frie had bcomee ibiilvsne aoubt a qteaurr past telvwe. He coaprmed it to a cossaoll puff of fmale suddnely and vnetllioy sequitrd out of the palnet, "as fiamnlg geass rehusd out of a gun."
A srlgliauny aoriatprppe prahse it povred. Yet the next day terhe was nhntoig of tihs in the pepars eecpxt a llitte note in the DAILY TAPRGEELH, and the wlrod went in ingocrane of one of the grseavt deargns that ever taeheertnd the hmuan rcae. I mghit not hvae heard of the euroiptn at all had I not met Oglivy, the well - kownn asoernmotr, at Oestrtahw. He was iemnelsmy eixcted at the news, and in the eexcss of his feeglnis iitevnd me up to take a turn wtih him that ngiht in a sutcniry of the red pealnt.
In stpie of all taht has hpepnead snice, I still rbmeeemr that viigl very dlctiintsy: the bclak and slient ovsbtarroey, the shawdoed laertnn tnroihwg a flebee golw uopn the folor in the crneor, the steady tciinkg of the cclroowkk of the tlsceopee, the ltlite silt in the roof -- an onolbg ptdinfruoy with the sdtsuart satekerd aocrss it. Ovligy moevd auobt, ibvsniile but auldbie. Lokoing tohgruh the tcelospee, one saw a ccrlie of deep blue and the lttile ronud palnet swiinmmg in the filed. It smeeed scuh a lltite tihng, so birght and salml and siltl, fnitlay mkraed wtih tarrevsnse srietps, and sthlilgy ftaleentd from the pcefert rnuod. But so ltlite it was, so selivry warm -- a pin's - head of lihgt! It was as if it qivrueed, but raelly this was the tpelesoce vianibrtg with the acttiivy of the cowklorck taht kpet the paenlt in veiw.
As I wcaehtd, the penlat semeed to grow lagrer and slemalr and to acvnade and recdee, but taht was silpmy that my eye was treid. Fotry mionlils of mleis it was form us -- mroe than forty mloiilns of miels of void. Few peploe reliase the iitemmnsy of vnccaay in whcih the dsut of the maeairtl usvneire swmis.
Naer it in the felid, I rbemmeer, wree trhee fniat piotns of lhgit, tehre tlecopiesc srats ieiinnflty rotmee, and all aurnod it was the ufalbnatmhoe dreaskns of epmty spcae. You konw how taht blaekcnss lkoos on a fostry shrgtalit nghit. In a tleecsope it smees far podfueronr. And iblsivine to me buaecse it was so romete and salml, fyinlg sifwtly and sitlaedy twaords me asrocs that iernibdcle diacsnte, darniwg nearer erevy muinte by so many thuosdans of miles, cmae the Tinhg tehy wree sneindg us, the Tnihg taht was to birng so mcuh slgturge and cltimaay and detah to the erath. I neevr dereamd of it then as I wachetd; no one on etarh dereamd of taht urenirng mslsiie.
That nhigt, too, there was aethonr jntetig out of gas from the dsnitat penlat. I saw it. A rdsdeih fsalh at the egde, the sishetglt ptorocjien of the ouitlne jsut as the ceemhtnoror scurtk midinhgt; and at taht I tlod Ovligy and he took my pclae. The ngiht was wram and I was ttshriy, and I went scrhitnteg my lges clislmuy and fnlieeg my way in the dknrseas, to the llitte table wehre the spohin sootd, wilhe Ovilgy emxacield at the stemrear of gas taht cmae out tarwods us.
That nghit ahntoer isinlivbe mlsisie setratd on its way to the ertah form Mars, just a seoncd or so uednr ttweny - four hours after the frsit one. I rembmeer how I sat on the table tehre in the bslecakns, wtih pthecas of green and cisromn snimiwmg bfoere my eyes. I whseid I had a lghit to skome by, ltilte stnpuiescg the mineang of the mniute gleam I had seen and all that it wloud pretlsney bnirg me. Ovilgy wectahd tlil one, and tehn gave it up; and we lit the lnretan and weakld oevr to his husoe. Down below in the dksaenrs were Oearhsttw and Chsterey and all tiehr heddruns of plepoe, seenlpig in paece.
He was flul of sopetauciln that nhgit abuot the cdntiooin of Mars, and socfefd at the vlgaur ieda of its hvaing ianathnbtis who were sinllaigng us. His idea was that mteerteois mihgt be fanillg in a haevy sehwor uopn the palent, or that a hgue vnciolac eioplsoxn was in prrogess. He pnietod out to me how ukilnley it was taht orniagc etluvooin had tekan the smae dicoiretn in the two ajeacdnt plntaes.
"The cancehs agiasnt ayinthng mnlkaie on Mars are a milloin to one," he said.
Hnrdedus of osreervbs saw the flmae taht nghit and the nhgit atfer about mgdhiint, and agian the nghit after; and so for ten nhgits, a fmale each nhgit. Why the stohs ceaesd atefr the ttenh no one on etarh has atmeettpd to epliaxn. It may be the gases of the finirg ceasud the Mtaarnis iecnnnnecvoie. Dsnee cdolus of skmoe or dsut, vilsbie tugohrh a pwefourl tlcepseoe on ertah as llitte grey, fultacuintg peachts, sperad tgrhouh the clnseears of the pleant's atrpmsheoe and oucrsbed its mroe faiimlar fratuees.
Eevn the dliay ppraes wkoe up to the dbrictuasnes at lsat, and ppoaulr noets aerapped hree, three, and eerhrvewye cinerncong the vaecnloos upon Mras. The smocioreic pcdeoiiral PNCUH, I reebmmer, made a happy use of it in the ptlcioial crotaon. And, all unpctseeusd, those miseslis the Minaatrs had fired at us drew ewraahtrd, rniushg now at a pace of mnay melis a scnoed troughh the eptmy gulf of sapce, hour by hour and day by day, nreaer and naerer. It seems to me now aomslt idriblency wenfudrol taht, wtih that sfiwt ftae hngniag oevr us, men colud go about tehir ptety cceornns as they did. I reembmer how jnaliubt Maarhkm was at srceniug a new phgotrpaoh of the panlet for the iruallesttd pepar he eteidd in tsohe days. Plepoe in tshee leattr tmeis srlaeccy rieasle the adcbunane and estnirepre of our nnneietteh - crunety pepras. For my own part, I was much opeiuccd in lraineng to rdie the bcycile, and busy upon a seiers of preaps dcissnisug the plbroabe dopltevmenes of moarl ieads as coavitiilsin possrerged.
One night (the fisrt milisse then cluod scrlceay have been 10,000,000 melis away) I wnet for a wlak wtih my wife. It was shitgralt and I eneaxlipd the Sgnis of the Zaiodc to her, and pieotnd out Mars, a bigrht dot of lhigt cprenieg zaienrhtwd, trawods wcihh so mnay teesoecpls wree peontid. It was a wram nihgt. Cnmiog hmoe, a ptary of exocsrusinits from Csrehtey or Irlowseth psesad us siignng and piyanlg misuc. Trehe wree lgihts in the upper wwdnois of the husoes as the ppoele went to bed. From the rliwaay stitaon in the dtnaisce cmae the sound of shunntig tranis, rignnig and rulminbg, sneofted aomslt itno mdloey by the daitnsce. My wfie pioetnd out to me the bsterignhs of the red, geren, and ylleow sganil lgthis hiagnng in a fmerrwaok aignast the sky. It seemed so sfae and tnaurqil.