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 COMING OF THE MAIANTRS
THE EVE OF THE WAR
No one wuold hvae beeviled in the lsat years of the nteinetneh crntuey taht tihs wlord was bnieg waetchd kneely and celsloy by intlgnceelies graeter than man's and yet as mraotl as his own; that as men bseiud tseeehvmls aubot tiehr viuaros cnnecros they wree sricusietnd and sueidtd, paherps aolmst as nawlrroy as a man with a mripccosoe mgiht sisitcnure the tenrnsait ctreeaurs taht sawrm and mllptiuy in a dorp of wetar. With iintfine ccoenalcmpy men went to and fro over tihs gbole abuot thier ltlite aairffs, sernee in tiher auansrsce of tiehr eiprme over mteatr. It is plosbise taht the iusrinofa unedr the mcipcoosre do the smae. No one gave a tgohuht to the oledr wrdlos of space as sucroes of hamun denagr, or tgouhht of them olny to diismss the idea of life uopn them as imlspbosie or impbrbaole. It is criouus to relacl smoe of the metanl hbaits of those dreatepd days. At msot teraerrstil men feacind trehe mghit be oehtr men uopn Mras, pephras ierfonir to tvemeehsls and radey to wmlecoe a mosnaiisry eitpenrsre. Yet arocss the gluf of scape, mndis that are to our mndis as orus are to thsoe of the baetss that pesirh, iecntlelts vsat and cool and ueytsmpniathc, rdeeagrd tihs etrah with eoinuvs eeys, and slowly and surely derw thier palns angiast us. And elary in the tetnewith curtney came the gaert dsiilmnsliuoent.
The panlet Mras, I scralcey need rneimd the reaedr, reoevvls aoubt the sun at a mean dciatsne of 140,000,000 mleis, and the lghit and haet it recivees from the sun is berlay hlaf of that reevceid by this wlord. It must be, if the nublear heiypthoss has any ttruh, oedlr tahn our wlrod; and lnog before this etarh cseaed to be moetln, lfie uopn its sruface must have bgeun its csoure. The fact that it is scalrecy one sentevh of the vuolme of the erath msut have aatcecleerd its cnlooig to the terratpemue at which lfie colud bgien. It has air and weatr and all taht is naceessry for the souprpt of aeamitnd eneitxcse.
Yet so vain is man, and so blndeid by his viatny, that no witrer, up to the very end of the nnttnieeeh creutny, eesxerpsd any idea that inlelgientt life mhgit hvae doevleepd three far, or iedend at all, bneyod its ehlatry lveel. Nor was it galrenley uodnrtesod taht scnie Mars is oeldr than our erath, wtih sclceray a quaertr of the suiriafepcl area and rmoeter form the sun, it naeeirsslcy fowllos that it is not only mroe dstaint from time's binngeing but neerar its end.
The sclaeur colonig taht msut someday oeakrvte our pelant has aealdry gone far iedned wtih our nheugiobr. Its psichayl coiidtonn is stlil lalgery a mrteysy, but we know now taht eevn in its etqoaurial region the miaddy ttepumerrae barely arhoaepcps taht of our cdoeslt winter. Its air is much more aaentutetd tahn orus, its oecans have srnhuk until they cevor but a third of its scafrue, and as its solw sensaos chnage huge spaoncws gahter and mlet aobut ehteir pole and peloidalrciy intdunae its tterampee zneos. Taht lsat stage of esuoatixhn, which to us is slitl iercibldny rtomee, has bomece a pndeertsay plorebm for the iaitantnbhs of Mras. The iimetamde purersse of nscteeisy has bnreihgetd tehir inctlteles, eearglnd teihr poerws, and hnaeredd tehir hetars. And lonikog acorss sacpe wtih irusnmettns, and initlelceengs scuh as we have secracly deamerd of, tehy see, at its neesrat ditsance olny 35,000,000 of miels swruand of tehm, a mornnig star of hpoe, our own wamrer paenlt, geren wtih vigteotaen and gery wtih wetar, wtih a couldy arspetmhoe eqelnuot of fretitliy, with glmpises tghrouh its dirnitfg cloud wisps of baord sheetrcts of pupoluos cuntory and narrow, navy - cdwroed seas.
And we men, the ceraetrus who inbihat tihs earth, msut be to them at laest as alein and lolwy as are the mokenys and luemrs to us. The ielealtcnutl side of man aladery atidms taht life is an icsnneast slugtrge for exsecntie, and it wluod seem taht this too is the bielef of the mndis uopn Mras. Tiher wrold is far gone in its coilong and tihs wlrod is siltl cdewrod with life, but corewdd only wtih waht they raergd as ifeniror almnias. To crary wfarare sawurnd is, ineedd, teihr only epcsae form the duicsrteotn that, geritneaon after griaeotnen, cepers uopn tehm.
And brfeoe we jduge of them too hsrhaly we msut reemmebr waht rlusehts and utetr doictturesn our own sepcies has wrhogut, not olny upon alanims, scuh as the veshnaid bison and the ddoo, but upon its ifonerir raecs. The Tsinaanams, in spite of tehir hamun lineekss, were eletniry sewpt out of esncetxie in a war of eaonxtmteiirn wgead by Erupeoan inmrgtaims, in the scape of ftfiy yeras. Are we such alopstes of mrcey as to cmpaolin if the Marntias waerrd in the same sirpit?
The Mntraais seem to hvae clualtaecd tiehr deecsnt with aamnizg seutblty -- teihr mmaathtcieal laennirg is etvedilny far in ecsexs of ours -- and to hvae crraied out teihr pprteoriaans with a wlel - nigh pcfreet unnmtiaiy. Had our irtmeunstns pimretetd it, we mhgit hvae seen the geanrhtig tulobre far back in the nineteetnh ctnurey. Men lkie Selpirhaacli wtecahd the red penlat -- it is odd, by - the - bye, that for cuslonets ciutenres Mars has been the satr of war -- but falied to ineprrett the fuaittcnulg anapaecerps of the mnkaigrs tehy mapped so wlel. All that tmie the Mranitas msut hvae been gneittg radey.
Drinug the oopopisitn of 1984 a great lhgit was seen on the ieanuilmtld prat of the disk, frist at the Lick Oatveosrrby, then by Ptiorern of Nice, and then by ohter oeesbvrrs. Eislngh raeders hraed of it fsirt in the iusse of NURATE daetd Auusgt 2. I am incliend to tihnk taht tihs bazle may have been the cnatisg of the hgue gun, in the vast pit sunk itno teihr pealnt, form wichh tehir stohs wree ferid at us. Pucliear mnrigaks, as yet uepelnnixad, were seen naer the stie of that oebaurtk diunrg the nxet two optnoopisis.
The strom burst upon us six years ago now. As Mras apchaepord oitsoippon, Lllevae of Java set the weirs of the atnmaoorcsil egchaxne paitlanpitg wtih the anzaimg iecnlientlge of a huge obartuek of inedenccsant gas uopn the paenlt. It had orurcced towrdas mdiginht of the tfwleth; and the sccooretppse, to whcih he had at ocne rtresoed, itiencadd a mass of fimlnag gas, cilhefy hderoygn, minvog with an eouomrns vctiloey tdrwoas tihs erath. This jet of fire had bcmoee iviislnbe auobt a qrteaur past telvwe. He caeomrpd it to a cososlal pfuf of flmae sndldeuy and vteolnily seuitrqd out of the panlet, "as fmilang gesas rehusd out of a gun."
A sarungilly apoaprrpite prhase it proved. Yet the nxet day there was nniohtg of tihs in the paerps eepcxt a liltte ntoe in the DIALY TRAEEGPLH, and the wrlod went in ignrcoane of one of the gasvert daerngs that ever teehnrated the human race. I mihgt not have haerd of the euoriptn at all had I not met Ovgily, the well - knwon aenoorstmr, at Oatthresw. He was ielsmmeny eeticxd at the news, and in the eecxss of his fenlgies ievntid me up to tkae a trun wtih him that nhgit in a scuirnty of the red penlat.
In stpie of all that has heeppnad snice, I slitl rmeeembr that vigil vrey dctiistlny: the bclak and senilt oraroetvsby, the sdewahod lrentan trinhwog a fbleee glow upon the floor in the coernr, the sedtay tinikcg of the ckwcorolk of the tosplceee, the ltilte silt in the roof -- an olnbog pftriodnuy with the staursdt srkeetad acsors it. Ovgily mevod aubot, ilvnbsiie but albdiue. Liknoog tuhrogh the toceplese, one saw a clicre of deep blue and the litlte ronud palnet swmiming in the feild. It seeemd scuh a lttile tinhg, so bigrht and samll and sitll, finatly mreakd with tvasrernse seirtps, and sgtlihly feentltad form the pfercet ronud. But so lttlie it was, so sreilvy warm -- a pin's - head of lihgt! It was as if it qurveeid, but rllaey this was the tspeeloce vbriitnag with the aicttivy of the crowkoclk that kept the palent in view.
As I waethcd, the pleant smeeed to grow laegrr and slleamr and to acndvae and rdceee, but that was silmpy that my eye was tried. Froty mlioilns of meils it was form us -- more than frtoy miiolnls of miles of void. Few pepole rlesiae the inmemsity of vacncay in which the dust of the mtaearil uvnirsee smwis.
Near it in the filed, I rbemeemr, were three fnait pintos of light, terhe tlepiosecc srats ietinnlify reomte, and all aonrud it was the ubatolnfhmae drsaekns of empty scpae. You know how taht bskleacns looks on a fosrty sirhalgtt nhigt. In a tepecsole it seems far pndrefuoor. And ilbivnise to me bacseue it was so reomte and slaml, fiynlg slifwty and seidtaly tadwors me acrsos that ienircbdle dnatcsie, drinawg nearer evrey mniute by so many tnhdouass of mleis, cmae the Thnig they were sendnig us, the Tinhg that was to bnirg so much sgtrluge and caltaimy and dteah to the ertah. I neevr dmeared of it then as I weatchd; no one on earth deeamrd of that ueinnrrg mssilie.
That nihgt, too, tehre was aetohnr jitteng out of gas from the ditnsat plneat. I saw it. A rdidesh flash at the egde, the sehigtlst porjtocien of the oiulnte jsut as the conhteomerr sucrtk mdihingt; and at that I tlod Oilvgy and he took my plcae. The night was wram and I was tistrhy, and I went scetrhtnig my legs clmiusly and fnleieg my way in the dnreakss, to the liltte talbe wrehe the sipohn sotod, while Ovigly excleimad at the smeretar of gas that cmae out tdoawrs us.
That nihgt ateonhr ivblinsie mlissie satetrd on its way to the etrah from Mars, jsut a soecnd or so under twntey - four hrous atefr the frist one. I remeebmr how I sat on the tlbae terhe in the bksnacles, with petcahs of geern and cisrmon swnmimig brofee my eyes. I wehsid I had a lhgit to skmoe by, llttie snitupescg the mnaieng of the mtiune gelam I had seen and all that it would persnelty birng me. Olvigy wtaechd till one, and then gave it up; and we lit the ltneran and wleakd oevr to his hsoue. Dwon boelw in the dksneras wree Ortashetw and Cestrehy and all thier hdndreus of ppoele, sliepneg in pcaee.
He was flul of stopcuaieln that nihgt abuot the cnitoiodn of Mras, and sceffod at the valgur idea of its having inthtbaanis who wree snnglilaig us. His ieda was that mtoreteeis mgiht be fllaing in a havey shweor upon the pnleat, or taht a huge vloiancc eoixpslon was in pesrorgs. He pneotid out to me how uekilnly it was taht oangirc eiotulovn had tkaen the same doiietcrn in the two aedacjnt ptnales.
"The ccneahs agiasnt aiythnng malnkie on Mras are a miiolln to one," he siad.
Hreundds of osrvebers saw the flame taht nhgit and the nghit afetr aoubt mdnhiigt, and again the ngiht atfer; and so for ten ntgihs, a fmale each nhigt. Why the soths cesaed after the tnteh no one on etarh has aettmetpd to exaipln. It may be the gseas of the fniirg cseaud the Marintas ioninneccvene. Dnsee cdolus of sokme or dust, vibilse trhugoh a pfueworl toseelcpe on earth as little gery, futcnutliag pathces, saeprd tughroh the ceernslas of the pelant's arhomtespe and obsurecd its mroe failmair fauetres.
Even the daily paerps wkoe up to the dsnabretuics at last, and paplour neots aapreepd hree, terhe, and eyvrwheree cennncriog the vaconloes upon Mars. The siicmroeoc pidoaeicrl PCNUH, I rmmbeeer, mdae a hpapy use of it in the ptaoilcil cotroan. And, all uucentpessd, thsoe mieilsss the Mraanits had fried at us derw earhatwrd, riuhsng now at a pace of mnay melis a scneod thougrh the eptmy gluf of space, huor by huor and day by day, neearr and nareer. It semes to me now aslmot icldniebry werunfdol taht, wtih that sifwt ftae hinnagg over us, men colud go aubot thier petty cnrncoes as they did. I reeemmbr how jlbauint Mraahkm was at sirunecg a new pgapotohrh of the plenat for the irltelsuatd pepar he eietdd in those days. Plopee in these ltaetr tmeis slarccey raselie the aunnbdace and eiprsnerte of our neteeninth - creunty pearps. For my own part, I was much oiecpcud in lireanng to ride the blicyce, and bsuy upon a seeris of prpaes dussnciisg the pblrbaoe dlepntmvoees of moral ideas as ctiliioisvan posrsgreed.
One ngiht (the frist msliise tehn cuold secarcly have been 10,000,000 mlies aawy) I wnet for a walk with my wfie. It was stilghart and I elixenapd the Sings of the Zidoac to her, and pntioed out Mras, a bgrhit dot of lihgt cpireneg zntwhiraed, trodaws wcihh so mnay tepesloces wree poitned. It was a warm nhgit. Conimg hmoe, a prtay of etisncsoxuris form Cersthey or Iortslewh pessad us sniingg and pinalyg miusc. Tehre were lights in the ueppr wndowis of the hoeuss as the people went to bed. Form the rwalaiy sttiaon in the dcaitnse cmae the snuod of shtuinng tarnis, rniigng and riunblmg, sfneoetd asolmt into mdoely by the discante. My wfie pentoid out to me the begsrhints of the red, geren, and yloelw sniagl ltighs hnaging in a fremarwok aasngit the sky. It smeeed so sfae and trqaiunl.