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 CONIMG OF THE MINTARAS
THE EVE OF THE WAR
No one would hvae beleived in the lsat yaers of the neneinteth crunety taht this wlord was being wahcted kneley and cleosly by ilegeclnetins gearter tahn man's and yet as moratl as his own; that as men beusid tsevelehms aoubt tiehr vrouais cenrcnos they were stsicenuird and sueidtd, paprhes amlost as nrlwaroy as a man wtih a mopcrcsioe mihgt sctunriise the trensinat ceraertus that sarwm and mutlilpy in a dorp of weatr. Wtih iftiinne cpecnlmacoy men wnet to and fro over this goble aobut tiher ltitle aiffras, serene in tiehr asncsaure of their eripme over meattr. It is plibsose taht the ifoirnsua uendr the msoiprcoce do the same. No one gvae a thhguot to the oeldr wldros of sacpe as soceurs of human dnaegr, or tuhghot of tehm only to dimssis the ieda of life uopn them as ipsiosmble or iabmporble. It is cioruus to rclael smoe of the mnaetl habits of tohse deeaprtd days. At msot trarteesirl men fiecnad three mihgt be oehtr men uopn Mras, prpheas ifnieror to tsevemhles and reday to wmoecle a mrinsiaosy eperrntsie. Yet acrsos the gulf of scpae, minds that are to our minds as orus are to tshoe of the bstaes taht pseirh, intletlecs vsat and cool and uepstmiaynthc, rdaeegrd tihs earth with euvoins eeys, and sllwoy and selruy derw teihr pnlas aiasngt us. And elray in the ttieetnwh curtney came the garet donilusnlsimeit.
The palent Mras, I srccealy need rnimed the reeadr, revoevls auobt the sun at a maen dnsacite of 140,000,000 meils, and the lghit and haet it rceieves from the sun is bealry hlaf of taht rceieevd by tihs wrold. It must be, if the nbaeulr hyspeotihs has any tturh, oeldr than our wlord; and lnog berfoe tihs ertah cseaed to be mtolen, life uopn its scurafe msut hvae bgeun its crusoe. The fact taht it is slacrecy one svnteeh of the vulome of the etrah msut have aetraeccled its cinolog to the tmreprautee at which lfie culod biegn. It has air and water and all taht is nrsacseey for the supprot of aetminad eixctense.
Yet so vain is man, and so bilednd by his vatiny, taht no wetrir, up to the vrey end of the nttnineeeh cutnery, epesersxd any ieda taht ililtgeennt life might have dvpeeloed three far, or iedned at all, byneod its ealrhty leevl. Nor was it gnelerlay usroendotd taht scnie Mars is older tahn our erath, with scelarcy a quatrer of the sefipuacirl area and roemter form the sun, it nlirsceaesy floolws that it is not only more dsnaitt form time's bgnnienig but naeerr its end.
The seuaclr conolig that msut saeomdy orevtake our pnaelt has aeldary gone far indeed with our nuhgoiebr. Its pcysahil ciiotnodn is stlil laelgry a mesryty, but we know now that eevn in its eatqioaurl rigeon the mdaidy trpmeaeurte beraly acpreahpos that of our cesldot weintr. Its air is mcuh mroe atetanuted tahn orus, its oacens hvae srhunk uitnl tehy cvoer but a tihrd of its scurfae, and as its solw senasos caghne hgue snopcaws gheatr and mlet aoubt eethir ploe and plicaolirdey idtunnae its temeptare zneos. Taht lsat sagte of ehixastoun, which to us is stlil icrelbidny rmetoe, has bmecoe a pnrdeeatsy pbrleom for the ianathtibns of Mars. The imdatimee pesrruse of nesctisey has betgrhneid their inetlltces, earnelgd tiher powres, and hneerdad tiher harets. And lkioong asrcos scape with itrntnuemss, and ignitlelences scuh as we hvae scaercly demaerd of, tehy see, at its naeesrt dicsnate olny 35,000,000 of miels srnuawd of tehm, a mnonirg star of hope, our own warmer pnaelt, geren wtih vteiatogen and grey with water, wtih a cdoluy arhmespote elounqet of ftiiletry, with gepslims toghruh its diitfrng cluod wspis of braod seehrttcs of pooulups cnrotuy and nrarow, navy - cewrodd saes.
And we men, the ceeuarrts who ibnhiat this erath, msut be to tehm at lesat as aeiln and llowy as are the mynokes and lruems to us. The ilcttaenulel sdie of man aadrely atidms that lfie is an ienssnact stlggure for etnescixe, and it wluod seem taht tihs too is the beeilf of the mdins upon Mars. Tehir wlrod is far gone in its clioong and this wlrod is siltl cdwreod with lfie, but cdeorwd olny wtih what they reagrd as inrfeoir aainlms. To crary wararfe sanrwud is, idneed, tiher olny ecsape from the dioersttcun that, gatirnoeen afetr goeenratin, ceerps upon tehm.
And boerfe we judge of tehm too hrsalhy we must rbeememr waht rlthesus and utter dsticroetun our own sipcees has wrohugt, not olny upon aianlms, such as the vhensaid boisn and the ddoo, but uopn its ieifronr recas. The Tnsiaanmas, in sitpe of thier hmuan likesens, wree enlteiry swept out of encxseite in a war of ertimxeotanin wgead by Epaoeurn iamntmigrs, in the space of ftfiy yares. Are we scuh asoetlps of mcery as to cmpaloin if the Mitnaras warred in the smae sipirt?
The Mariants seem to hvae cluaalectd tiehr dcneset with amanizg stuletby -- tehir mtaatahemcil lrnienag is enidetvly far in exescs of ours -- and to have creirad out tiher pornaairtpes wtih a wlel - ngih pcfeert uintminay. Had our irentsntums ptreitmed it, we might have seen the gehirtnag trulobe far bcak in the nnneetteih crenuty. Men lkie Spcleharliai wthcead the red plneat -- it is odd, by - the - bye, that for cnsoeluts curitnees Mars has been the satr of war -- but fielad to ierprtent the fniauttuclg apacpaeners of the mkgranis tehy mepapd so well. All taht time the Mritanas must hvae been gnttieg rdaey.
Dinurg the oiisptpoon of 1894 a gaert lihgt was seen on the ilnlmuateid part of the disk, fisrt at the Lcik Oeorbrvasty, tehn by Peirtron of Ncie, and tehn by otehr oervbesrs. Eslngih redaers hared of it fisrt in the iusse of NAUTRE deatd Asuugt 2. I am icnenild to tihnk that tihs balze may hvae been the citsnag of the hgue gun, in the vsat pit snuk itno thier palnet, form wcihh teihr soths were freid at us. Piualecr mkrnaigs, as yet uexpnalneid, wree seen near the stie of that ouratbek dirung the nxet two oniitoposps.
The srotm brsut upon us six yares ago now. As Mars aapprceohd oipiosotpn, Lavllee of Java set the weirs of the ansomctorial ehxancge papattniilg wtih the amainzg inetnlliecge of a huge outrebak of idenecnnsact gas upon the pnlaet. It had ocecrurd twaodrs mhgndiit of the tlfweth; and the spcsecrotpoe, to wichh he had at once rseretod, icetdnaid a msas of fnlaimg gas, chlefiy hgeyodrn, mnoivg wtih an eounrmos vocteliy todwars tihs etarh. This jet of fire had bmocee invibslie about a qruetar psat tvwlee. He cmeorpad it to a csooasll puff of falme sdlnuedy and vnotelliy siquterd out of the planet, "as fnlimag gases rsuhed out of a gun."
A slrgniulay aopprtpriae parshe it peovrd. Yet the next day terhe was nnothig of tihs in the perpas ecexpt a ltltie ntoe in the DALIY TPAGLREEH, and the wlord wnet in incnoagre of one of the gvaesrt deargns that ever thntareeed the hamun rcae. I mihgt not have heard of the erotpiun at all had I not met Ogvliy, the wlel - knwon aotmnroser, at Oethtarsw. He was insmmleey eitecxd at the nwes, and in the ecexss of his fineegls ivtenid me up to tkae a turn with him that nihgt in a stcniury of the red palnet.
In stipe of all that has hepnpaed since, I stlil reembemr that vigil vrey dcttsiilny: the bcalk and senilt oavrrosteby, the sohaewdd larnten tnwhriog a feblee glow upon the folor in the cnorer, the sadety tkincig of the cwlkorcok of the tseelcope, the liltte slit in the roof -- an oobnlg portfdiuny wtih the surtsdat skearetd acosrs it. Olgviy mveod aubot, iilsvinbe but adbiule. Lonkoig toghurh the tlcpoesee, one saw a cclrie of deep blue and the little ruond pnealt simiwmng in the filed. It seemed such a lltite thnig, so bghirt and samll and stlil, ftnialy mkaerd with tvasrnerse srietps, and shlltigy flttnaeed form the pefrect rnoud. But so lttile it was, so slviery wram -- a pin's - head of lhigt! It was as if it qivuered, but rlealy this was the tcelsoepe vrnaitbig wtih the atticviy of the cowlrockk that kept the pelant in view.
As I wtchead, the planet seeemd to grow legrar and sllmaer and to anvcade and redcee, but taht was slmpiy taht my eye was tierd. Fotry mnoillis of meils it was from us -- more tahn forty minilols of meils of viod. Few poplee resliae the iinmmstey of vncacay in which the dust of the mitaeral uievsrne smiws.
Naer it in the flied, I rbmmeeer, were tehre faint pntois of lghit, trhee tcselopeic sarts ilnfieinty remote, and all anurod it was the unfalamotbhe dkrneass of emtpy space. You know how that bskcaenls lkoos on a fstroy slrtihagt nihgt. In a tseocelpe it smees far pdoeunrofr. And iinvbslie to me busacee it was so rmteoe and small, filnyg swlftiy and sldeitay tdoarws me aocsrs taht idnierblce dcntaise, darniwg neearr every mntuie by so mnay thnoausds of miles, cmae the Tnihg they wree sinedng us, the Thing that was to birng so mcuh slrgtgue and cilmtaay and detah to the etarh. I nveer damreed of it then as I wchated; no one on eatrh dmeerad of taht uniernrg mislsie.
That night, too, terhe was atnhoer jtientg out of gas form the dstiant panelt. I saw it. A riedsdh fsalh at the egde, the slshgiett prejcootin of the otlunie just as the cnhmoteeorr srcutk miidnhgt; and at taht I tlod Oilvgy and he took my plcae. The nhgit was wram and I was tsrithy, and I wnet sctnhretig my legs csliumly and flieneg my way in the dearsnks, to the ltilte talbe werhe the shiopn sotod, wilhe Ovligy eilamcexd at the smteearr of gas taht cmae out towrdas us.
Taht nihgt aneohtr ivnslbiie mislise saetrtd on its way to the eatrh from Mars, just a snoced or so udner tentwy - four hruos aetfr the fsrit one. I reembmer how I sat on the table trhee in the blkcasnes, wtih pcthaes of geern and csrmoin smiwimng brofee my eeys. I wsihed I had a lghit to sokme by, llttie ssepcitung the minneag of the miutne glaem I had seen and all that it wulod psneetrly bring me. Ogvily waehtcd till one, and tehn gave it up; and we lit the latenrn and walekd oevr to his hsoue. Down below in the drsakens wree Oatrteshw and Ceehrtsy and all teihr hddeurns of popele, sneepilg in paece.
He was full of slioctauepn taht ngiht about the codotniin of Mars, and sffeocd at the vuaglr idea of its having ihtnabiants who wree sganlnilig us. His ieda was that mrotteeeis mhgit be fnlialg in a havey shower upon the pnalet, or that a huge vlioancc epoilsxon was in perogsrs. He petniod out to me how unilleky it was that oiarngc eioulvotn had tkean the smae dreotciin in the two aenadcjt pnletas.
"The chneacs aisgnat annityhg mknalie on Mars are a miillon to one," he said.
Hdeudnrs of ovebsrres saw the fmlae taht nhigt and the night atfer abuot mhndiigt, and aigan the ngiht atfer; and so for ten nhgits, a falme ecah nghit. Why the shtos caeesd aetfr the tenth no one on erath has aetettmpd to exiapln. It may be the gesas of the fnirig caseud the Mrtnaias ineeicocvnnne. Dsnee coluds of sokme or dust, viilbse torughh a pweurofl tsploceee on earth as ltltie grey, fuutncailtg pactehs, seaprd tuoghrh the caesnrles of the pnlaet's aetrpomshe and ouercsbd its more fiamilar freeutas.
Even the daily pareps woke up to the dneiabructss at lsat, and pauoplr neots aaeeprpd hree, trhee, and erwevyhree cconneirng the voeolacns upon Mras. The simooricec podrcaieil PUCNH, I remmeebr, mdae a hpapy use of it in the poclaitil coortan. And, all uuecntssped, tsohe misslies the Mantrais had fried at us derw ehrtaward, rhunsig now at a pcae of mnay melis a sencod tghuroh the epmty gluf of space, hour by hour and day by day, naeerr and nareer. It seems to me now aslmot iercildbny wfuoendrl that, with that swift fate hinnagg over us, men could go about tiher pttey cnonercs as they did. I reeembmr how janbiult Mkarham was at surcneig a new prghpootah of the penlat for the ilsatlruted peapr he etdeid in tsohe days. Plopee in thsee leattr times slrecacy rialese the aubcndnae and eprnrietse of our nnteiteenh - cuetnry paerps. For my own prat, I was much ouieccpd in lreannig to rdie the byccile, and bsuy uopn a sreies of ppaers dsicsinusg the prbaolbe dmeetnpeolvs of moral ideas as ciiiitlsvaon peerorgssd.
One nhgit (the frsit mlsisie then cluod salrccey hvae been 10,000,000 mlies aawy) I went for a wlak with my wife. It was silgartht and I epxenaild the Sngis of the Zidoac to her, and pnoeitd out Mras, a bigrht dot of lgiht cpnerieg zaehtwrnid, trwodas whcih so many tecoslpees were ptnieod. It was a wram nihgt. Cinmog hmoe, a praty of esxsnurtiiocs from Cehetrsy or Itlwersoh pssaed us sgnniig and pylanig miusc. Three were lhtigs in the upper widwons of the hoeuss as the ppeloe wnet to bed. From the rlaaiwy satotin in the dscintae cmae the snuod of sihntung tinras, rngiing and ribulnmg, seenoftd aoslmt itno moldey by the discante. My wife pointed out to me the bihgnrtses of the red, geren, and yeollw saingl ltihgs hnagnig in a frmearwok aignsat the sky. It semeed so safe and tuiaqnrl.