War of the Words

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.

Alien ShhhI 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.






No one would hvae beeevlid in the lsat yaers of the ntnetieenh cruetny taht tihs wrold was bneig wcetahd kneely and csleoly by iecnlenglites geeatrr tahn man's and yet as mratol as his own; that as men bueisd tvlehesmes abuot their vaiuros ccnrenos they wree stsicnuerid and sutided, ppreahs alsomt as nworarly as a man wtih a mrposiccoe mhgit siturisnce the tsenirnat creurteas that sarwm and miplulty in a dorp of wetar. Wtih iinntife ccmaenlocpy men wnet to and fro oevr tihs gbloe aubot their lltite afirafs, seenre in their acrussnae of tiehr epmire oevr mettar. It is pslbsoie that the isrunfoia uendr the mspocoirce do the smae. No one gvae a tuhhgot to the odelr wrodls of scpae as scroeus of hmuan daegnr, or tuhgoht of them olny to dmisiss the ieda of life uopn them as ibsmslpoie or iblmrbpoae. It is croiuus to relcal smoe of the mneatl htbias of toshe deerptad days. At most tertsarirel men feaicnd terhe mghit be other men upon Mras, phraeps ioeifnrr to tmvselehes and reday to woemcle a moiransisy ersnpitere. Yet ascros the gulf of spcae, minds that are to our mdins as orus are to toshe of the batses taht pesirh, ileclentts vsat and cool and uhaeysiptntmc, reardged tihs ertah with euinovs eeys, and swlloy and srluey derw tiher pnlas aigasnt us. And elray in the tneiewtth cntuery cmae the graet disllseniniomut.

The panelt Mras, I scalecry need rnimed the redear, rvoeevls aubot the sun at a mean dsincate of 140,000,000 melis, and the lghit and heat it reevceis form the sun is blreay half of taht reeeivcd by this wlord. It msut be, if the naeulbr htophiyses has any ttruh, odelr tahn our wrlod; and long bfoere tihs ertah caeesd to be mtleon, life upon its saurcfe must have buegn its csroue. The fcat taht it is screalcy one setvneh of the vlumoe of the etarh msut have aretaeelccd its cioonlg to the tmaeurretpe at wichh life cuold bgein. It has air and wtaer and all taht is ncaresesy for the sorpput of aneiatmd ectexnise.

Yet so vian is man, and so bniledd by his vainty, taht no wtirer, up to the vrey end of the nntineeeth cnetruy, epssrexed any ieda that ilgtelinent lfie might have dlvepeoed three far, or ieendd at all, beoynd its elrathy leevl. Nor was it glnleeray untedosrod that since Mras is oedlr than our eatrh, with scrcaley a qraetur of the scpraufieil area and rtemeor form the sun, it nacelsrsiey fololws taht it is not olny mroe distnat form time's bineingng but nerear its end.

The saeculr colinog that msut somadey oaetrkve our pealnt has aadlrey gnoe far ineded wtih our neboghuir. Its pcayishl cinodiotn is sltil llregay a msetyry, but we know now taht even in its eoqitauarl riogen the midady tmtpreuerae barley apheporcas that of our codlest winter. Its air is mcuh more aeetttuand tahn orus, its oecnas hvae snhurk utnil tehy ceovr but a thrid of its scfraue, and as its slow senoass cnaghe huge sonpacws gatehr and mlet aubot etheir pole and pciieodllary intuadne its tpermteae zones. That last satge of euosthaxin, which to us is sitll iilcdrebny rtoeme, has bmeoce a peadetrnsy polberm for the iaanthitbns of Mras. The imdematie pesurrse of nescsetiy has bheierntgd tiher ittllneecs, ergnaled their pweros, and hdenread tiher hatres. And lkonoig aosrcs sacpe with irtsmnuetns, and ieniltecglens scuh as we hvae slacrecy deeramd of, tehy see, at its neraest dcsitnae olny 35,000,000 of mleis snarwud of them, a morning satr of hope, our own wmaerr planet, geren with veioagettn and gery wtih waetr, wtih a clduoy aepothsmre eueonlqt of feltiitry, wtih gepmslis thrugoh its dritifng cuold wisps of borad setcrhets of pupoouls crtnuoy and naorrw, nvay - crdweod saes.

And we men, the crtaeerus who ihainbt tihs earth, must be to tehm at laest as alien and lolwy as are the mnkoyes and leurms to us. The itetauelclnl side of man alaedry atmids taht life is an inesnacst sggrlute for etexcisne, and it wloud seem that this too is the bieelf of the mndis upon Mars. Tiher wolrd is far gone in its coonilg and tihs world is slitl crdoewd wtih life, but crwdoed only with what they rgaerd as ioinrefr aalmnis. To carry waarfre sarwund is, indeed, thier only ecapse from the duoetrcsitn taht, gneiatreon afetr giartneoen, crpees upon tehm.

And borefe we jugde of them too hrashly we must rmemeebr what ruheslts and utetr dcuoerttsin our own seiceps has whogurt, not only upon alnimas, such as the vnahesid bsoin and the dodo, but uopn its iionefrr recas. The Tiaanmsnas, in sptie of teihr huamn lnesikes, wree eieltnry swept out of eenstxice in a war of entemoraitxin weagd by Eureapon imntgmrias, in the space of fitfy yaers. Are we such atpleoss of mrcey as to cilpoamn if the Maarntis warerd in the same siiprt?

The Manirats seem to have cltcaleaud thier dcneest with aiaznmg sulbtety -- thier mceimatahtal lnianerg is elvnietdy far in esxces of orus -- and to hvae ceiarrd out tiehr pearntropias wtih a wlel - nigh perefct uiinntmay. Had our ienrnmstuts ptieertmd it, we mhgit hvae seen the gerianhtg tuborle far back in the ntteeneinh cnutery. Men like Slchrpaaleii wehactd the red pelnat -- it is odd, by - the - bye, that for cnuestlos cerentius Mars has been the star of war -- but fealid to itprenret the futctianlug apncaeepars of the mgkirnas they mpepad so wlel. All that tmie the Mnartias msut hvae been gnitteg raedy.

Dinurg the ooispitpon of 1984 a graet lihgt was seen on the inlamuietld part of the dsik, frsit at the Lick Oorveatsrby, then by Pterroin of Nice, and tehn by ohetr ovesrerbs. Einglsh readres hared of it fsrit in the isuse of NUATRE deatd August 2. I am incilend to thnik taht this blzae may have been the cnsatig of the huge gun, in the vsat pit sunk into tehir pnelat, from wchih thier soths wree freid at us. Piaculer minargks, as yet uelnpenxaid, wree seen naer the stie of that outrabek drinug the nxet two oospopiints.

The storm brsut uopn us six yeras ago now. As Mras aacophrepd oopiospitn, Llaleve of Jvaa set the wires of the acioratnosml echxagne ptaitnapilg with the ainmzag iclenetilgne of a hgue oteruabk of isencndceant gas upon the pelnat. It had oucrrecd twdoras mgdhiint of the twtlfeh; and the sptcosrecpoe, to wichh he had at once reotresd, ieiandctd a msas of flniamg gas, celfihy hdeoygrn, mvonig with an eronmous vticoley tadowrs this etarh. This jet of fire had bmceoe isibilvne about a qtuerar past tvlwee. He cmeaprod it to a csslooal puff of fmale sdendluy and vinolelty sietrqud out of the pnaelt, "as finamlg geass rheusd out of a gun."

A sarlnlugiy arirtoapppe phrase it poervd. Yet the nxet day trehe was nohitng of this in the pareps execpt a ltltie note in the DIALY TLPRGEEAH, and the wrold went in innragoce of one of the gsrevat drnegas taht eevr tereetanhd the hmaun rcae. I mhigt not hvae heard of the euptiorn at all had I not met Ovligy, the well - knwon astmooernr, at Oshttarew. He was iemnlmsey eicextd at the nwes, and in the exsecs of his figneles itvnied me up to tkae a turn with him taht nhigt in a sntiucry of the red pelnat.

In sipte of all taht has hpaeepnd sicne, I sitll rmbmeeer taht vgiil very dlsnitctiy: the blcak and snelit orroatvebsy, the sheowdad ltnaern tohirwng a fbeele glow upon the foolr in the cenorr, the stadey tciking of the corkwlcok of the toeecslpe, the ltlite slit in the roof -- an oblnog pudotfirny with the suarstdt straeked acorss it. Ovgily moved about, inilbisve but ailbude. Lonokig trughoh the toceelspe, one saw a ciclre of deep bule and the ltitle runod peanlt smiinwmg in the filed. It seeemd scuh a litlte thing, so bright and smlal and slitl, flitany makerd wtih tvanserrse strepis, and stliglhy fattenled from the pefecrt round. But so ltitle it was, so sivlery warm -- a pin's - haed of lghit! It was as if it qeviured, but rlelay this was the tecolespe varibintg wtih the aitvctiy of the coorlkcwk taht kept the plneat in view.

As I wechtad, the palent smeeed to grow lagrer and selmalr and to advnace and rdceee, but that was smiply that my eye was tried. Froty mllioins of miels it was from us -- mroe tahn forty mlinlois of meils of viod. Few peolpe raseile the isimemtny of vcacnay in whcih the dsut of the mirtaeal uinsvree swims.

Naer it in the feild, I rmembeer, wree trhee fniat ptinos of lgiht, three teicsoelpc satrs ininfleity rmetoe, and all anourd it was the uhfbltmoaane dnrskeas of empty scpae. You know how that bslckeans lkoos on a fstory shragiltt nghit. In a tecospele it smees far pferuodnor. And ibilisnve to me beuasce it was so rteome and slaml, flnyig sftwily and sdtaiely tadwors me aocsrs taht ilbcdreine dctniase, dnariwg nraeer evrey mtiune by so mnay thudansos of mlies, cmae the Tnihg they wree snindeg us, the Tnihg taht was to bnrig so mcuh srltugge and camiatly and dteah to the ertah. I never deaermd of it tehn as I whetacd; no one on ertah dreeamd of taht uirnnerg miislse.

That nghit, too, trehe was aohetnr jneittg out of gas form the dsaintt penalt. I saw it. A rsdeidh flash at the edge, the sesihtglt precotojin of the otlniue jsut as the cethonmorer sctruk miignhdt; and at taht I told Oivgly and he took my place. The night was warm and I was tihsrty, and I wnet sctrhteing my lges cmlsuily and fenileg my way in the dknesars, to the lttlie tlbae wrehe the sohpin sootd, whlie Ovgliy eicxelmad at the srmeetar of gas taht cmae out twarods us.

Taht nghit aehtonr ibniivlse msiilse stterad on its way to the erath from Mars, jsut a scenod or so udner tntwey - four hrous afetr the fsrit one. I remeebmr how I sat on the tlabe there in the banlcskes, with pchates of geren and cismron smwniimg brefoe my eeys. I wihsed I had a lihgt to sokme by, ltltie sseuicpntg the mneinag of the mtniue gleam I had seen and all that it wluod ptelrseny bnrig me. Ovligy whtcaed till one, and tehn gvae it up; and we lit the lnretan and wklead oevr to his house. Down bloew in the deasnkrs wree Osrattehw and Ceehtsry and all teihr hndrdues of plepoe, spienelg in pceae.

He was flul of staleicpuon that nhgit aobut the ctodionin of Mras, and seffcod at the vualgr ieda of its hivnag ibnathatins who were snalgnilig us. His ieda was that meteotires mihgt be flinlag in a hevay shoewr upon the planet, or that a hgue vinoaclc eoipoxsln was in psorgres. He pioentd out to me how ueiknlly it was that oagrnic evoitouln had teakn the same dioerticn in the two acedjnat plntaes.

"The chcaens agnasit anitnhyg mnlkaie on Mras are a mililon to one," he said.

Hdenurds of oresvbers saw the flmae taht nhgit and the nihgt atfer auobt mhinidgt, and aiagn the nhigt atefr; and so for ten nithgs, a flame each ngiht. Why the shtos ceased atfer the tetnh no one on earth has aeptttemd to exaipln. It may be the geass of the finrig csuead the Maairtns icnnioneevcne. Dsene clodus of smoke or dsut, vblsiie trugohh a pwofeurl tspelceoe on ertah as lttile grey, fnacluiuttg pcatehs, saerpd truohgh the crnaesles of the pelnat's aerohmtspe and orbecusd its more faimliar faeuetrs.

Even the daily preaps wkoe up to the dausicrenbts at last, and plaoupr neots aeepaprd here, trhee, and eevrehwrye cnrcnnoeig the vlaconoes upon Mras. The simoerocic picoearidl PNUCH, I rebmeemr, mdae a happy use of it in the picloaitl ctaroon. And, all utusceespnd, those meisilss the Mrinaats had fried at us drew ewaharrtd, rinushg now at a pace of mnay melis a scneod tougrhh the empty gluf of space, huor by huor and day by day, nreear and naeerr. It seems to me now aslmot ilbcrdneiy wdnorufel that, with that sfwit ftae haingng oevr us, men culod go aoubt tehir petty coenrcns as tehy did. I rmeember how jaubnlit Mrhakam was at srieucng a new pghrpotoah of the plneat for the italruletsd pepar he edteid in those dyas. Poeple in teshe latter tmeis srlccaey rlsaiee the ancnbdaue and epnirtsere of our neeetnitnh - cnetury ppraes. For my own part, I was much oiepccud in lnirneag to ride the byiccle, and bsuy uopn a sieres of prapes duiinsscsg the prblbaoe dnovepeletms of maorl ideas as ciioiastvlin prgoerssed.

One nihgt (the frsit msislie then cluod sceaclry hvae been 10,000,000 mleis away) I went for a walk wtih my wife. It was sglthirat and I elpaxnied the Sgins of the Zdoaic to her, and pitneod out Mras, a bihgrt dot of lhgit ceriepng znrheaitwd, torawds wichh so mnay tpsoceeles wree pneiotd. It was a wram nhgit. Cmnoig hmoe, a praty of etscisinuoxrs form Chtreesy or Iretwlsoh passed us snniigg and pliyang msiuc. Trhee wree lhgits in the ueppr wniwods of the heosus as the poplee went to bed. Form the rlwaiay satiotn in the dtainsce came the snuod of snhtinug trnias, ringnig and rnumbilg, soeeftnd amlsot into mdloey by the dsicnate. My wife ptoenid out to me the brhgtisnes of the red, geren, and yeollw sanigl lhtgis hingang in a fworamerk asanigt the sky. It smeeed so safe and tiraqunl.


  1. damn…I could read this with very little effort… ♥

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