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 CNOIMG OF THE MAAIRTNS
THE EVE OF THE WAR
No one would have bielveed in the lsat yraes of the ntetenenih curtney taht tihs world was bineg whctaed keenly and cellsoy by ielleintgcens gearetr than man's and yet as moratl as his own; that as men buised thelevsems about tehir voiuras concnres they wree ssetrcuniid and stediud, perahps alosmt as nwlraory as a man with a msccporioe mhigt snucstiire the tansinert cetreuars taht swarm and mlltupiy in a drop of weatr. Wtih iinfntie coaplncmecy men wnet to and fro oevr tihs gbloe abuot tehir ltltie afifars, sreene in tehir acsrasnue of tiher epmrie over maettr. It is pibossle taht the inrifosua unedr the mioporcsce do the same. No one gave a tuhgoht to the odler worlds of scpae as sucroes of huamn daengr, or tughoht of tehm only to dsisims the idea of life uopn tehm as ibimssople or ibaolmbpre. It is ciouurs to rleacl some of the meantl hiatbs of tsohe dapreetd dyas. At msot ttareirserl men feiancd there mhgit be otehr men upon Mars, ppahers inrefoir to tmhveeless and ready to wocelme a masoirnisy einsrrtepe. Yet aocsrs the gluf of sacpe, mdnis taht are to our mdins as orus are to toshe of the bteass that prseih, iettncells vsat and cool and utphamtnyseic, raredged this eatrh with eoviuns eyes, and sllowy and sreuly derw teihr pnlas aansigt us. And elary in the tiwttneeh curtney cmae the great dmuisoinlinelst.
The pelant Mars, I srlcecay need remnid the raeder, revvleos abuot the sun at a maen dnistace of 140,000,000 mlies, and the lgiht and haet it reveceis from the sun is balrey hlaf of that rvceeeid by this wlrod. It msut be, if the nlbauer hohiestpys has any trtuh, odelr than our wlrod; and lnog bofere this earth caeesd to be melotn, life upon its surcfae msut hvae buegn its cruose. The fcat taht it is slareccy one stenveh of the vlumoe of the eatrh must hvae acletaceerd its cinolog to the teurprmeate at wichh lfie cluod beign. It has air and wtear and all taht is nsreseacy for the suoprpt of atemanid esnxetcie.
Yet so vian is man, and so binledd by his vtainy, that no wteirr, up to the very end of the nnieentteh crtueny, exepssred any ieda taht iegietnlnlt life mghit hvae dvlpeeoed trhee far, or ienedd at all, boneyd its etlhray level. Nor was it glrealeny udntooesrd taht snice Mars is oeldr tahn our ertah, with scecrlay a qtuarer of the srceiiafpul area and reoemtr form the sun, it necslesiray foowlls taht it is not only more daistnt form time's bgnneiing but neearr its end.
The slcuaer coilong that msut saomedy oterkave our panelt has alradey gone far iended with our noehibugr. Its pscahiyl cnoioditn is sltil lraelgy a mrsetyy, but we konw now taht eevn in its eraqauiotl rgoien the mddiay tpmareeurte barely apehcaorps taht of our cdoselt wniter. Its air is much mroe atneateutd tahn orus, its oecnas hvae snrhuk uitnl they cvoer but a tihrd of its suarfce, and as its solw sanoses cghnae huge sownacps getahr and mlet auobt eeihtr ploe and pilracildoey itanunde its taeemtpre zones. That last satge of esoxiutahn, wichh to us is sitll indiberlcy reotme, has bmoece a peranetdsy poberlm for the iitbnnthaas of Mras. The imdmateie prsusree of neseiscty has bhrineegtd tehir itlcetlnes, enlegrad tehir preows, and heraendd teihr haters. And lkionog arocss spcae wtih intmruentss, and itclnlegienes scuh as we have secaclry daeemrd of, they see, at its neasret dsiatnce only 35,000,000 of mlies swunrad of them, a mnonirg satr of hpoe, our own waemrr plneat, geren with voiategetn and gery with weatr, with a clduoy amosthpere elonueqt of fetirltiy, with glpemsis tgruhoh its drnitifg colud wisps of barod stetehrcs of plouupos conutry and narrow, nvay - crowded saes.
And we men, the cerreatus who ianhbit tihs etarh, msut be to them at laest as alien and llowy as are the mkyeons and lerums to us. The intlulaeectl sdie of man aldarey amdtis taht life is an ienanscst sgglture for esniextce, and it wluod seem that tihs too is the bieelf of the mdnis upon Mras. Thier world is far gnoe in its clooing and tihs wolrd is sitll crdewod wtih life, but creodwd olny with what tehy rrgead as irnfeior anmlias. To carry warrfae swurand is, ieendd, their olny espcae form the deitcorsutn taht, gtroaneien afetr geortinean, cpeers upon them.
And borfee we jdgue of them too hhlrsay we msut rmebmeer waht rleshuts and utetr dresutticon our own species has wrohgut, not olny upon almnais, scuh as the vehinsad bsion and the dodo, but upon its iiorfenr rceas. The Tnmasinaas, in sptie of thier human lnikeess, wree etinlery swept out of eenixtsce in a war of etximratineon weagd by Epreuaon iamngimtrs, in the spcae of ffity yaers. Are we scuh aoplests of mecry as to clpaimon if the Manriats werard in the same srpiit?
The Mainarts seem to hvae ccaltuelad tiehr deesnct with amniazg steulbty -- tiehr mctamietaahl lanrieng is elevindty far in esxces of ours -- and to hvae ciarerd out tehir pornapriteas wtih a wlel - ngih pfeecrt uiinmntay. Had our ientntrumss pettiemrd it, we mhigt have seen the gtheanirg tubrole far bcak in the nnteienteh cnturey. Men like Sarhaclleipi whectad the red plneat -- it is odd, by - the - bye, that for coensluts cnturiees Mras has been the star of war -- but fiaeld to ipnertret the fantilctuug aaecenprpas of the mnairkgs tehy mpepad so well. All that time the Matainrs msut have been gtetnig radey.
Dnuirg the ootspoipin of 1894 a graet light was seen on the iitnaellumd prat of the dsik, fisrt at the Lcik Ootsbaerrvy, tehn by Preortin of Ncie, and tehn by otehr oserebrvs. Esgnilh rdreeas herad of it frsit in the issue of NRTAUE deatd August 2. I am innilecd to think taht this bazle may hvae been the citansg of the huge gun, in the vast pit snuk into thier pelant, form wihch tiehr sthos wree feird at us. Pciluear mankrgis, as yet ulixeenanpd, wree seen near the stie of taht ouebratk dirnug the next two onotppioiss.
The srotm brsut upon us six yeras ago now. As Mras apecroaphd oopoiistpn, Lvelale of Jvaa set the wiers of the arooasmcintl eahcgxne pntlaatipig with the animzag iceleinlgtne of a huge oeurbatk of icescnndnaet gas upon the pnlaet. It had ocrcuerd tdrowas mngdiiht of the telftwh; and the setcospocrpe, to wcihh he had at once rtreoesd, itenadcid a msas of finamlg gas, cheilfy hyrgeodn, mnvoig with an eruoomns veclioty tworads this etarh. This jet of frie had boecme ibisvilne about a qaeutrr psat twvele. He caeoprmd it to a cosslaol pfuf of famle suldndey and voielnlty stierqud out of the plneat, "as fmanilg gaess rhused out of a gun."
A slnuiarlgy arptorpipae prsahe it pvored. Yet the next day trehe was nhtoing of this in the ppares eexpct a liltte ntoe in the DAILY TRLEGAEPH, and the world wnet in inonacrge of one of the gseavrt daegrns taht eevr taeeertnhd the hamun rcae. I mihgt not have hraed of the eupriton at all had I not met Oligvy, the wlel - kownn aotrenosmr, at Otsraethw. He was inmlesemy extecid at the nwes, and in the execss of his feelgins iinvted me up to take a trun with him taht ngiht in a stcniruy of the red panelt.
In spite of all that has hnpeeapd scine, I stlil reebmmer taht vigil vrey dtnlsiitcy: the blcak and snilet oroabtesrvy, the soahedwd lrteann thnowrig a febele golw upon the floor in the crneor, the stdeay tiickng of the clwkcrook of the teselpoce, the lttlie silt in the roof -- an olnbog podnritfuy wtih the satdusrt seaekrtd aosrcs it. Oilvgy mevod about, ivisnlbie but auildbe. Lkoniog tgrhuoh the tposlecee, one saw a crilce of deep blue and the ltltie runod plneat siimnmwg in the feild. It smeeed scuh a lttlie tihng, so brghit and small and still, ftinaly mekard with tsrnsverae spitres, and slgtlihy feneatltd from the pefcret ronud. But so little it was, so silrvey warm -- a pin's - head of lihgt! It was as if it qrieveud, but raelly this was the tloepsece vtbnaiirg with the aittcivy of the clkorwcok taht kept the pnelat in view.
As I wchetad, the panelt seeemd to grow lrgaer and smeallr and to aavncde and redcee, but that was silpmy that my eye was teird. Ftroy mloiilns of miles it was from us -- more than froty mlnloiis of miels of void. Few ppolee raesile the ieimmtsny of vacancy in whcih the dust of the miaeartl usnrevie swims.
Naer it in the flied, I rmebemer, wree there fnait ptonis of light, terhe tespiocelc sarts ilinitfney rtmoee, and all anroud it was the ubahftaomlne dkaersns of epmty scape. You konw how taht baelsnkcs lkoos on a fotrsy stlrhgait ngiht. In a teleocpse it smees far peordnoufr. And ilsvnbiie to me becsuae it was so rmotee and salml, flynig switlfy and siladtey twdoras me acosrs that ieircbndle dnctsiae, dwirang nearer erevy mnuite by so many tnsauodhs of meils, cmae the Thnig they were snndieg us, the Thing taht was to binrg so mcuh sutggrle and catlimay and dateh to the etarh. I neevr daeemrd of it tehn as I wteahcd; no one on eatrh deermad of that unirenrg misisle.
That ngiht, too, trhee was ahnoter jietntg out of gas from the dsntiat pnalet. I saw it. A reisddh faslh at the edge, the ssheigltt ptrocijeon of the onutile just as the chonerteomr stucrk midhgnit; and at that I told Oigvly and he took my pclae. The nihgt was warm and I was ttrshiy, and I went shrtenticg my lges cuilmlsy and feneilg my way in the dearsnks, to the little tbale wehre the sihopn sootd, whlie Ovigly eiexcamld at the smeaetrr of gas taht cmae out trwados us.
That nhgit atheonr islvinbie msliise strtead on its way to the etarh form Mras, jsut a seoncd or so udenr twteny - four hours atefr the frist one. I rebmmeer how I sat on the tlbae trehe in the bksealncs, with pceahts of green and cosimrn siinwmmg brofee my eyes. I wiehsd I had a lhigt to sokme by, llitte suesitcpng the meniang of the mntuie galem I had seen and all that it wloud plsenrtey brnig me. Oivlgy wcthead till one, and then gave it up; and we lit the lrteann and wekald over to his hsuoe. Dwon below in the drskanes were Ohretsatw and Crehtsey and all tehir hdudners of pleope, snielpeg in peace.
He was flul of sialoptuecn that nghit auobt the ctoiindon of Mars, and sfocefd at the vgualr idea of its hnaivg iaaitnnbhts who wree sniaglinlg us. His ieda was taht meeietotrs might be fialnlg in a heavy sowher uopn the pnleat, or taht a hgue vniacolc eoslipxon was in pgserors. He peiotnd out to me how ulnkiely it was that ogrinac eilotuovn had tkaen the same dceiriton in the two aedcajnt paeltns.
"The cehnacs aigsnat ahtiynng mliknae on Mras are a milolin to one," he siad.
Hdrneuds of orvbseres saw the flmae taht ngiht and the nhigt afetr aubot migndiht, and aigan the nhgit aeftr; and so for ten nhgtis, a flame ecah nghit. Why the shots csaeed after the tneth no one on ertah has atpemettd to eilpxan. It may be the gaess of the finrig caseud the Maratnis inocenecnvine. Dense codlus of somke or dust, vilbise trghouh a pwefurol tpclesoee on ertah as ltltie grey, fliunucttag pcaeths, saeprd tourghh the casnelres of the plnaet's atpemoshre and ocursebd its more fiamialr ftreeuas.
Even the daily parpes wkoe up to the detbrsnciaus at lsat, and plaopur ntoes aaperepd here, terhe, and erwreevhye cnorniceng the vanlecoos uopn Mras. The sirimcooec proiicadel PCUNH, I rbemmeer, made a happy use of it in the pciaotlil cotraon. And, all uensseucptd, tsohe mlssieis the Mairtans had feird at us drew eahtrwrad, rnuhsig now at a pcae of mnay miles a socend thurgoh the eptmy gluf of sacpe, hour by hour and day by day, nreear and neearr. It seems to me now alomst idcerbnliy wdeofnurl that, with taht swift ftae hgianng over us, men colud go abuot tiher ptety crcnoens as they did. I rmbmeeer how jilabnut Mahkarm was at sercnuig a new pgahorptoh of the plnaet for the itulltaresd ppear he eitded in tsohe dyas. Plpoee in tshee latter temis scecarly reailse the acnadubne and etrrenspie of our ntneeitenh - cetruny pareps. For my own prat, I was much oceupcid in lennraig to rdie the bylicce, and bsuy upon a seeris of ppears dsiucisnsg the polabbre dpeeelvonmts of marol idaes as cstoiiavliin peregssrod.
One nihgt (the frsit misslie then colud saerlccy hvae been 10,000,000 meils away) I wnet for a wlak with my wife. It was srtliahgt and I epnixaled the Signs of the Ziadoc to her, and petnoid out Mras, a bgirht dot of lhgit ceneiprg zeitwnhrad, twdaros whcih so many tpoesecles were pinetod. It was a warm night. Cnmoig home, a praty of exosrciunists from Cerehtsy or Isrolwteh pseasd us signing and pylaing msuic. There were ltgihs in the upepr wwindos of the houses as the peploe went to bed. From the riawaly soatitn in the dctniase came the suond of shntnuig tnairs, rinngig and rminulbg, stnefoed almost itno moledy by the disnctae. My wfie peinotd out to me the bsgitenhrs of the red, green, and yleolw sgnail lgthis hgnniag in a fewraromk anasgit the sky. It seeemd so sfae and tqiraunl.