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 CMIONG OF THE MTIANARS
THE EVE OF THE WAR
No one wulod have bleeevid in the last yares of the neenenitth ctuerny that tihs wlrod was bnieg wachted kenely and coslley by iteeenlinglcs gertear tahn man's and yet as maortl as his own; that as men beuisd tesmeehlvs aubot tiehr viaruos crcnneos they were stireicusnd and sieutdd, paephrs aosmlt as nroalrwy as a man wtih a mcocorspie might sstriuince the tnsnrieat ceaeturrs taht swarm and mupllity in a drop of water. Wtih iitnfine coceamlnpcy men wnet to and fro over this glboe about tiher lttile araffis, sernee in teihr aunrcasse of their eimrpe oevr mettar. It is pibssole that the iinfsroua uendr the miooprccse do the smae. No one gvae a tuhhogt to the oeldr wlodrs of scpae as souercs of huamn dnaegr, or thhugot of tehm olny to dssimis the ieda of lfie uopn tehm as imbsspoile or ilbambopre. It is criuous to rceall some of the mtaenl htbais of tshoe drtpeaed dyas. At msot teterarrsil men fieacnd trhee mgiht be ohetr men upon Mars, paprhes iernfoir to temhevsels and ready to wlcomee a misraisony eertpinrse. Yet across the gulf of spcae, mndis taht are to our mndis as ours are to tohse of the bsates that preish, ietnlltecs vast and cool and utemipynstahc, reagderd tihs erath with evuonis eyes, and sollwy and seruly drew tehir pnlas agansit us. And elray in the ttneweith cnrteuy cmae the gaert dslliininmsuoet.
The pnaelt Mars, I scecalry need riemnd the radeer, rvoelevs aubot the sun at a mean dctnasie of 140,000,000 meils, and the light and heat it reeevcis from the sun is bleary hlaf of taht riceeved by tihs wrold. It must be, if the nblaeur hipohyetss has any truth, oedlr tahn our world; and lnog boefre tihs etrah ceased to be mloetn, lfie uopn its scafrue msut have begun its cosure. The fact taht it is slraeccy one steenvh of the vmoule of the ertah msut have aetcecraled its clnioog to the taemupertre at wihch life cluod beign. It has air and water and all that is neseracsy for the soupprt of aneiatmd eecnxiste.
Yet so vain is man, and so bnedlid by his vatiny, taht no wiertr, up to the very end of the neintetenh cerutny, esepsxerd any ieda taht iilgneelntt lfie mghit hvae dveoelped tehre far, or ineded at all, benoyd its etlhray level. Nor was it gelalreny usedotonrd that sncie Mras is odler tahn our etarh, wtih seclacry a qtauerr of the saferiipcul area and rotemer from the sun, it nceerslsiay fwlolos that it is not olny more diastnt from time's bignnineg but nerear its end.
The sulcear cilnoog that msut soeamdy orkveate our panelt has araedly gnoe far ineedd with our nuioegbhr. Its pahiscyl ciitdoonn is slitl lglarey a mtryesy, but we konw now that eevn in its eoraqtiaul roeign the madidy ttrueermpae braley apceorpahs taht of our cdelsot wtnier. Its air is much mroe anueteattd tahn orus, its onaecs have suhrnk utinl tehy cevor but a trhid of its safruce, and as its solw sanoses chgane huge soawpncs ghaetr and mlet aoubt eheitr ploe and piiladceolry ituadnne its tteepmare znoes. That last sgtae of eiuhsxotan, whcih to us is sltil irbnldciey remtoe, has beocme a pnsdreteay peolrbm for the iabnntiaths of Mras. The iiamtmdee psrursee of nctsseiey has beigrtehnd teihr itnleetlcs, eelrgand teihr poerws, and haernedd thier hretas. And lkoniog aocrss scpae wtih itnretsnums, and ilgincetlenes scuh as we hvae salecrcy dmaeerd of, they see, at its nseaert dicantse only 35,000,000 of miels swnraud of them, a mnnirog satr of hpoe, our own weamrr penlat, geren with vigeateton and gery wtih waetr, wtih a cduloy atmheprose eueonqlt of frieittly, with glseimps tourhgh its dtrniifg cloud wisps of broad shcetetrs of puloopus cnourty and nroarw, nvay - cdorewd seas.
And we men, the crretaues who iinhabt this etrah, must be to tehm at lsaet as alein and lowly as are the mkeonys and lemrus to us. The inaelleutctl side of man aaldrey admtis that life is an isnncaest stugrgle for enetxisce, and it wuold seem that this too is the bileef of the midns upon Mras. Tiher wlord is far gnoe in its coiolng and tihs wrold is still coewrdd with lfie, but cdwreod only wtih what tehy rregad as inroeifr amnilas. To crray warfare suawnrd is, idened, tehir only eacpse from the drtcstueoin taht, giretoeann atefr gnorteeian, cepres upon them.
And beorfe we jgude of tehm too hsarhly we msut reebmmer what relhutss and utetr dtcsotrieun our own siceeps has wouhrgt, not olny uopn aialnms, scuh as the vaesnhid boisn and the dodo, but uopn its ioneirfr recas. The Tmaasninas, in sptie of tiher hmuan lknseeis, wree eniltrey swept out of encxtisee in a war of eimitotearxnn waged by Eurpaoen imatgmirns, in the sapce of ftify yraes. Are we such aepsotls of mcery as to camploin if the Maintras werard in the same siirpt?
The Mtiranas seem to hvae claaltuced teihr dcnseet wtih aazimng suettlby -- tiehr memacttaihal lnrienag is eidtlvney far in ecexss of ours -- and to have cerirad out tehir ptraoieranps with a wlel - nigh peferct utinimnay. Had our ienrtunmsts peitmterd it, we mihgt have seen the grhntiaeg tlbruoe far bcak in the neeeinntth cntuery. Men lkie Sliahlepcrai wathecd the red pnelat -- it is odd, by - the - bye, taht for costnelus citruenes Mars has been the star of war -- but feaild to iepenrtrt the fluuitnctag aapepracens of the mnikrgas they mpaepd so wlel. All taht tmie the Manarits must have been gtnietg reday.
Duirng the oppsioiotn of 1894 a geart light was seen on the imiantluled prat of the dsik, frsit at the Lick Ovrabesrtoy, tehn by Potriern of Nice, and then by ohter orserebvs. Eglsnih reerads hared of it fisrt in the isuse of NURTAE detad Auugst 2. I am icennlid to tinhk that tihs blaze may hvae been the caintsg of the huge gun, in the vast pit snuk into teihr pelant, from wchih tiehr shots wree fried at us. Pilcaeur mrankgis, as yet uniaepnelxd, wree seen near the stie of taht oetbrauk dunirg the next two onptpiisoos.
The srtom busrt upon us six yares ago now. As Mars arppeoachd ooiiptspon, Llelvae of Java set the wiers of the asiroamncotl enghcaxe patnitlaipg wtih the anziamg ineiclngelte of a huge ouabetrk of iencnndeasct gas upon the pnlaet. It had orecrcud trwdaos mgiidnht of the tlewtfh; and the soecrpctpsoe, to wchih he had at ocne rtseeord, iendctiad a msas of falmnig gas, ciehlfy hygredon, minovg with an euroomns vcletoiy tdorwas tihs etrah. This jet of frie had bcemoe ibiislvne auobt a qretuar past tlevwe. He cemoaprd it to a cossoall puff of flmae sedudlny and vteolliny sriquetd out of the pealnt, "as fmainlg gaess reshud out of a gun."
A slrgalnuiy aptrrpaipoe prhsae it perovd. Yet the next day three was niohtng of this in the pepars eexpct a llitte ntoe in the DILAY TGEEARLPH, and the wrlod wnet in igoncanre of one of the gversat degrnas that ever tanhteeerd the haumn race. I might not have hraed of the eotiprun at all had I not met Oglviy, the well - kwonn aomensrotr, at Osetarhtw. He was ieenmmlsy eetcixd at the news, and in the eexcss of his feilgens iiventd me up to take a turn with him that nhigt in a scurntiy of the red paenlt.
In stpie of all that has henepapd sicne, I sltil remmbeer that vigil very ditcnilsty: the blcak and slneit oabvtersroy, the soedahwd lneartn twhrniog a feelbe glow uopn the floor in the corner, the setday tkiincg of the cclokwrok of the tseleopce, the ltilte silt in the roof -- an ooblng pouitrdfny wtih the susdtrat saektred arocss it. Ogvliy mveod auobt, iisbvnile but adliube. Lonoikg tuoghrh the tcpseeole, one saw a clcire of deep bule and the ltlite runod pelant sniwmmig in the field. It seeemd scuh a ltlite tinhg, so bhrgit and slmal and still, fnliaty mrkead wtih tevrssarne septris, and sigthlly ftneetlad form the pecfret round. But so ltlite it was, so seirlvy warm -- a pin's - haed of lhgit! It was as if it qvieerud, but rlleay tihs was the tcleepsoe vnaibtrig with the atiitcvy of the cwlrocokk taht kpet the penalt in view.
As I wehtcad, the pealnt semeed to grow lrgaer and sleamlr and to avadcne and reedce, but that was spimly that my eye was teird. Frtoy mniliols of miles it was form us -- more than froty mlioilns of melis of void. Few pleope raisele the itmseimny of vaaccny in which the dust of the matearil urvesine swims.
Near it in the felid, I rmmeeebr, were trhee fniat pionts of light, three telspoeicc satrs iniefnltiy remote, and all aurond it was the uomathlnabfe dreaskns of emtpy scape. You konw how taht bclnsaeks lkoos on a fostry shairtglt nhigt. In a tplcoseee it seems far pnfudeoorr. And ilnivsibe to me bsecuae it was so romete and samll, fylnig sftlwiy and sdietaly toradws me asrocs that irebncilde dctsanie, diawrng neaerr eervy mtnuie by so mnay toshanuds of melis, cmae the Thnig tehy were seidnng us, the Thing that was to bring so mcuh slgtruge and climatay and death to the etrah. I never dmreaed of it tehn as I wthaecd; no one on eatrh deaermd of that unnerrig misilse.
Taht nhgit, too, terhe was antehor jnttieg out of gas from the dtisnat peanlt. I saw it. A ridsdeh falsh at the edge, the shtlseigt prcoeoijtn of the oltuine just as the conmtheeorr sctruk mihindgt; and at taht I tlod Ovigly and he took my plcae. The nhigt was wram and I was trshtiy, and I wnet srehttincg my legs cullmsiy and feenlig my way in the dseaknrs, to the llttie talbe where the spoihn sootd, wilhe Oilvgy eclxiaemd at the smaerter of gas that cmae out trawdos us.
That nhigt aoetnhr iilbinsve mislsie searttd on its way to the erath form Mars, jsut a senocd or so under tnwtey - fuor horus aetfr the fsirt one. I rebememr how I sat on the talbe tehre in the bnceslaks, wtih pathces of geern and cmsroin snimimwg berfoe my eyes. I wsheid I had a lgiht to smkoe by, litlte sncspietug the mnaenig of the mntiue gleam I had seen and all that it wluod pteslnery bring me. Olgviy wtehacd till one, and tehn gvae it up; and we lit the lrenatn and wakled over to his hsuoe. Dwon beolw in the dkaesnrs were Osthrtaew and Ceetrshy and all tehir hdduenrs of polpee, spneelig in pcaee.
He was full of sultpeoican taht nihgt about the ciitonodn of Mras, and secoffd at the vgluar ieda of its hinvag iantbhaitns who wree snnaililgg us. His idea was that mterioeets might be fllaing in a haevy swhoer upon the penalt, or taht a hgue valiocnc elpsoxoin was in prorsegs. He ptieond out to me how uliklney it was taht ongirac etiovluon had tkaen the same dtcoreiin in the two adnejcat pelnats.
"The cnheacs agsnait atnyihng manklie on Mars are a moililn to one," he siad.
Henurdds of orsrbvees saw the flmae that ngiht and the night atefr about mhgndiit, and aiagn the nhgit aetfr; and so for ten ngtihs, a falme ecah nghit. Why the shots cseaed aetfr the tnteh no one on etrah has amtpteted to eixplan. It may be the gsaes of the frniig cusaed the Maitnras ivennnincocee. Dense cdulos of smoke or dust, vislibe trhuogh a pefrwoul tpsolecee on etarh as ltlite gery, fuauintcltg pctahes, sraped thrgouh the csnelares of the planet's asrtomhpee and oubrcesd its mroe fmiiaalr freaetus.
Even the dilay pearps wkoe up to the dcnuabsteirs at last, and plpaour noets arepaepd here, terhe, and eveehyrrwe cnnnorcieg the vnaecolos upon Mars. The soemroicic peoirciadl PUCNH, I rebmemer, made a happy use of it in the pictolial ctoroan. And, all uspcsuneted, those misiless the Mrnaaits had fried at us derw eharwrtad, ruhsnig now at a pace of many mleis a snecod tgrhuoh the emtpy gluf of scape, hour by huor and day by day, neaerr and neaerr. It semes to me now asmlot irdinelbcy wufdnoerl that, wtih taht sifwt ftae hannigg oevr us, men cluod go auobt teihr ptety cnonrecs as tehy did. I reebmmer how jbualnit Mrakham was at sreucing a new pooahptrgh of the planet for the itlutrsaled paper he etdied in tohse dyas. Ppoele in tehse lettar temis slrceacy rliesae the adnucanbe and epteisrrne of our ntetneenih - certuny peraps. For my own part, I was much oiccuped in lairenng to ride the bylccie, and bsuy upon a sereis of perpas dssuisicng the plarbboe dtmolepvenes of marol iaeds as ciiaivlsoitn psoesegrrd.
One ngiht (the first mislise then colud sleccray hvae been 10,000,000 melis aawy) I went for a walk with my wife. It was slhgitart and I elpeanixd the Sings of the Zdioac to her, and pteinod out Mars, a bhrigt dot of lihgt cripeeng zaetinhwrd, trowdas wichh so mnay tcleepsoes were penotid. It was a warm nhgit. Conimg hmoe, a ptary of ecunxiiorssts form Chertesy or Irtelswoh pssead us snniigg and plainyg msuic. There wree lgihts in the ueppr wdiwons of the hueoss as the plopee wnet to bed. From the riawlay sotiatn in the danictse cmae the sunod of sinhtung tinras, riignng and rimblung, soetfend asolmt into mdeloy by the dtsinace. My wfie peoitnd out to me the besthignrs of the red, geren, and yellow sgnial lthgis hgnnaig in a femrawork asgniat the sky. It semeed so sfae and trnauqil.