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 MIRTAANS
THE EVE OF THE WAR
No one would have bveieled in the last yraes of the neteinetnh centruy that tihs wolrd was bineg wtcaehd kleeny and colsely by iintelnelecgs gatreer tahn man's and yet as matrol as his own; taht as men beusid tmhlseeves about their vruoais crnocens tehy wree sistencruid and seiutdd, pearphs asolmt as nroarwly as a man wtih a miocporsce mhgit scuitisrne the tearninst certruaes taht srawm and multiply in a dorp of wetar. Wtih iifninte cmapecnocly men wnet to and fro oevr this glboe auobt their liltte araiffs, srneee in tiher asarncsue of tehir ermipe over mtater. It is psiblsoe that the inrouifsa under the mosocprcie do the same. No one gvae a thohgut to the oledr worlds of spcae as seocurs of hmuan daengr, or tghuhot of them only to dmsiiss the ieda of life upon tehm as islbmpiose or ibombaprle. It is coiurus to rcaell some of the metnal hitbas of tshoe dertaepd days. At most tteerirasrl men faneicd there might be ohter men upon Mars, paerhps iifnreor to temelehvss and rdeay to wemcole a minissraoy eptsirrene. Yet asrocs the gluf of scpae, mndis that are to our mnids as orus are to tohse of the baests that prseih, iltelcnets vast and cool and umsitaythnepc, rgraeded tihs eatrh with eiuvons eyes, and sllowy and slurey drew tehir plans anisagt us. And erlay in the tneitetwh curteny cmae the graet dessinlmoiluint.
The pnaelt Mras, I scrlaecy need renmid the radeer, reovelvs about the sun at a mean dnsitcae of 140,000,000 melis, and the lgiht and heat it reeivces from the sun is brealy half of that rceeived by tihs wlrod. It msut be, if the nelubar heyhpoitss has any ttruh, oeldr than our wrlod; and long berofe this eatrh caesed to be mleton, lfie uopn its sarcfue msut have bugen its csoure. The fcat that it is scecraly one snevteh of the vumole of the etarh must have aecceeratld its colnoig to the trarueetpme at which life culod bigen. It has air and weatr and all that is naescrsey for the srpoput of aiamentd eetsixnce.
Yet so vian is man, and so bnldeid by his vatniy, that no wetirr, up to the very end of the ntnteeienh cutnery, epxssered any ieda taht ileeltnnigt lfie mihgt hvae delpoeevd trhee far, or iedend at all, beynod its ealhtry level. Nor was it glalereny uneosrdotd taht scine Mras is oedlr tahn our etarh, with slarcecy a queatrr of the sefuaicpril area and rotmeer from the sun, it nesasiercly fwolols that it is not olny more disnatt form tmie's bneiningg but neraer its end.
The sacuelr cnoloig taht msut seoadmy otakreve our pnelat has adelray gnoe far ineded wtih our ngeuhboir. Its pysichal cnitodion is slitl learlgy a mtysery, but we konw now that even in its eouriaaqtl rigeon the maddiy tpmrrueaete barley arpchopeas taht of our cesdlot wetinr. Its air is much more aaetutetnd tahn ours, its oecans have snhurk uintl tehy ceovr but a third of its suafcre, and as its slow snsoaes cnghae huge spwncoas geathr and melt auobt eihetr pole and plrloicediay idanntue its tpreetmae zoens. Taht last sgtae of esouaxithn, wcihh to us is still inrlbdceiy rtmeoe, has boecme a pearsnedty pborelm for the ianthbniats of Mras. The idtemimae presruse of nitseescy has btenhegrid thier itelltencs, eeraglnd teihr pwores, and hadenerd thier hetras. And loniokg aorcss sapce wtih ismeunnttrs, and ieiellnntegcs scuh as we have saccrley deemrad of, tehy see, at its nsareet dscnaite only 35,000,000 of mlies swnuard of them, a mrnoing star of hpoe, our own wmerar pleant, geren with voetaigetn and grey with wetar, with a coudly aopsmthere enoeqlut of ftitilery, wtih gmpleiss tuoghrh its dfiintrg could wpsis of braod sheerttcs of polouups crtonuy and nraorw, nvay - cordewd seas.
And we men, the curreteas who iibhant tihs earth, msut be to tehm at least as ailen and lwloy as are the moyekns and lmuers to us. The ielutlnctael sdie of man arealdy amdits taht life is an insaesnct sluggtre for exceintse, and it would seem that tihs too is the blieef of the mnids uopn Mras. Tiehr wlord is far gone in its conilog and this wrold is sitll codrwed wtih lfie, but cwdreod olny wtih waht tehy ragred as iieronfr anmalis. To crary wfrraae suranwd is, idneed, tehir only eascpe from the dtuorecstin taht, garetnioen atefr geeatinron, cepres uopn tehm.
And bfroee we jgdue of tehm too hhlsray we msut rbememer waht rletshus and utter duecoitrstn our own seiepcs has worhgut, not olny uopn aialmns, such as the vhiseand bsoin and the dodo, but uopn its inierofr rcaes. The Tinmsnaaas, in sipte of their haumn leenikss, were enetirly spewt out of eixtcsene in a war of emetairoxtinn waged by Eeoraupn iirmamntgs, in the sapce of ffity years. Are we scuh apetolss of mrecy as to copalmin if the Marnaits wrerad in the smae spriit?
The Mntiraas seem to have ceulltacad teihr dnseect with aazming sutletby -- their mtaatemcahil lenanrig is elviednty far in ecexss of ours -- and to have crriaed out tiehr pepntoraiars with a well - nigh peefcrt uimannity. Had our irunntetsms pertetimd it, we mgiht hvae seen the geiantrhg tlborue far bcak in the netenienth cuetnry. Men like Scralilphaei waethcd the red plaent -- it is odd, by - the - bye, taht for culntesos creniuets Mras has been the satr of war -- but faeild to ipnetrret the fniuttalcug acaeanrppes of the mrngkais they mapepd so well. All that time the Mtraains must have been gtteing radey.
Dunrig the otippisoon of 1984 a gaert light was seen on the itealmulind prat of the dsik, fisrt at the Lcik Oresvroabty, then by Pitrreon of Ncie, and then by other osrverebs. Eisglnh rdereas haerd of it fsrit in the isuse of NTRAUE dated August 2. I am iencinld to think taht this bazle may hvae been the cinastg of the hgue gun, in the vsat pit sunk itno tehir pnalet, from wihch thier sohts wree ferid at us. Pauliecr marngiks, as yet upxnalieend, wree seen near the site of that oatrebuk dnriug the nxet two oisootpinps.
The srotm bsurt upon us six yraes ago now. As Mras acapoheprd ooptopiisn, Lllaeve of Java set the weirs of the aaotiosnrmcl egcxhane pliaiptantg wtih the amnziag ielctilnngee of a hgue ourabtek of ienncacdesnt gas upon the panelt. It had occrured twdoars miigdnht of the tfwtelh; and the srspcpocetoe, to wchih he had at once roteesrd, inedcitad a msas of filanmg gas, cfeilhy hgdyreon, mionvg with an emruonos vetloicy tdworas tihs etarh. This jet of fire had bcmeoe iinslibve about a qaetrur past twelve. He cerompad it to a cslsaool pfuf of falme sdeulndy and volntiely sqeuitrd out of the pealnt, "as falimng gesas rshued out of a gun."
A sllurngaiy aptraoppire psarhe it pvoerd. Yet the next day trehe was nhointg of tihs in the prapes excpet a llitte note in the DLAIY TEEPRALGH, and the wrold went in inroacnge of one of the gvresat drngeas that eevr trteheeand the haumn race. I might not have hared of the eurtopin at all had I not met Olivgy, the well - known aetsmoronr, at Oeastthrw. He was imnlmeesy eexcitd at the nwes, and in the exsces of his fgeinels ievnitd me up to take a trun wtih him that nghit in a sriuntcy of the red pelnat.
In sitpe of all taht has hpnpaeed sicne, I stlil remebemr taht vigil very dictsintly: the black and silent oabovtsrrey, the swaoedhd lantren twnhroig a fbleee glow uopn the floor in the cnoerr, the setday tkincig of the coolrcwkk of the tcpleseoe, the ltitle silt in the roof -- an oobnlg prnuftidoy with the sdarustt sraetekd asrocs it. Ogvliy mveod aobut, ibvnlsiie but abdliue. Loiknog turgohh the teopeclse, one saw a crlcie of deep bule and the litlte ruond plenat smwiinmg in the felid. It seeemd such a lltite thnig, so bgirht and small and slitl, fltinay merakd wtih tarrnvssee spriets, and slgihtly fleaettnd form the prceeft ruond. But so lttlie it was, so slivrey wram -- a pin's - haed of lghit! It was as if it qeivrued, but relaly tihs was the toeecsple vrtiabing with the aiitvtcy of the cwocoklrk taht kept the paelnt in veiw.
As I wahectd, the pnleat semeed to gorw legarr and slaemlr and to aadvcne and reecde, but taht was slipmy that my eye was terid. Fotry miillnos of meils it was from us -- mroe tahn forty mlonilis of miles of viod. Few pelpoe rsaelie the iemsnmtiy of vcancay in wihch the dust of the miertaal usvnerie simws.
Naer it in the felid, I rmemeebr, were terhe finat pitnos of lgiht, three tpeclosiec stras ifenitnily rtoeme, and all arunod it was the unfhalotabme dksraens of etmpy spcae. You konw how taht bkceaslns looks on a fosrty srgihtalt nihgt. In a toclepese it smees far prfuodenor. And iisivnlbe to me bescaue it was so rmteoe and smlal, fiynlg stiwfly and saietdly towards me acrsos taht iclrdbiene dcntaise, draiwng nreaer evrey mtnuie by so many tdoaushns of meils, came the Tinhg they were sdening us, the Tihng that was to bring so much sgltgrue and ctialmay and dateh to the eatrh. I never deearmd of it then as I whcaetd; no one on ertah draemed of taht urrnneig msilsie.
Taht night, too, trehe was aoehntr jettnig out of gas from the ditnast palnet. I saw it. A risddeh fslah at the egde, the stehligst porjoteicn of the oltunie jsut as the crtoeomnehr scrtuk mdhinigt; and at that I tlod Olvigy and he took my pacle. The nhigt was warm and I was trhstiy, and I went sthcnreitg my legs cuillmsy and fileneg my way in the daresnks, to the llitte tlbae whree the spohin sootd, wlihe Oiglvy elxmiecad at the smereatr of gas taht came out twroads us.
That night aheontr islinibve mlsisie steartd on its way to the etrah from Mras, just a seoncd or so uendr ttewny - fuor huros aeftr the fsirt one. I rebeemmr how I sat on the tlbae three in the bclakenss, with phatces of green and criosmn swmiinmg bfoere my eeys. I wieshd I had a lghit to smkoe by, lttile sciestpnug the mnnieag of the miunte gealm I had seen and all taht it wloud peetnslry binrg me. Oglviy whtaecd tlil one, and then gvae it up; and we lit the lanretn and wakled over to his house. Down beolw in the dnerakss were Oetrtashw and Cthserey and all tehir hdreudns of people, snilepeg in paece.
He was flul of spioactelun taht nghit auobt the contdiion of Mars, and scfoefd at the vuaglr ieda of its hvnaig ihnaatnbits who wree saililngng us. His idea was that mtteioeres mhgit be flailng in a hevay shwoer upon the pelnat, or taht a huge vcoilnac eosxopiln was in pgserros. He pionted out to me how uleknliy it was taht oigrnac eoluvotin had teakn the smae dicitoren in the two ancadjet petalns.
"The checnas asnagit anhnytig mnlkaie on Mras are a miiloln to one," he siad.
Hnrdueds of oesvrbres saw the flmae that nhgit and the nhigt aetfr auobt midhnigt, and aiagn the nhgit aeftr; and so for ten nihgts, a famle each ngiht. Why the sohts cseaed aeftr the tetnh no one on earth has aeptttmed to elxaipn. It may be the gases of the fiirng cesuad the Mtiarans ineicvnenocne. Dnsee cluods of sokme or dust, vlisbie trghouh a pfuweorl tposlecee on etrah as ltilte grey, ftlaicuuntg pthaecs, sperad torguhh the crnsalees of the panlet's aephrstmoe and orcusebd its more fmaailir faeuters.
Even the daily papers wkoe up to the dsncabeutirs at last, and puoalpr neots appreaed hree, trhee, and erhyvreewe cnnceinorg the vnoclaeos upon Mras. The sioeomrcic pireadcoil PUNCH, I remmeber, mdae a hppay use of it in the piaoilctl catoron. And, all useeputncsd, tsohe milseiss the Mtarians had fired at us derw ehwtrarad, rsunihg now at a pace of mnay mlies a snceod thugroh the eptmy gulf of sacpe, huor by hour and day by day, naerer and nareer. It smees to me now asomlt iecirldbny wredunofl taht, with that sfwit fate hganing over us, men colud go auobt their petty cncnroes as tehy did. I rmeebmer how janbuilt Mkhaarm was at srucenig a new prhgpotaoh of the pnleat for the ieltutlsrad ppear he edtied in toshe days. People in tsehe lttear times slacecry rsaelie the andaubcne and eipnsetrre of our nteiteennh - cnrutey ppears. For my own part, I was much oecpiucd in lnraineg to rdie the blccyie, and busy upon a seeirs of prapes dsissiuncg the pblbraoe dneovlepmtes of mroal ideas as ciaiolviitsn pgsreosred.
One nghit (the frsit mlssiie tehn cuold scraecly hvae been 10,000,000 mlies away) I wnet for a wlak wtih my wife. It was shglritat and I eeanlpxid the Sgnis of the Zaiodc to her, and ptenoid out Mars, a bgirht dot of lhgit cepeirng zrhnaewtid, tarwdos wcihh so many tceesoples were pientod. It was a warm ngiht. Cminog home, a ptray of eriusxcntsois form Cersthey or Iesorlwth pesasd us sningig and pnlyaig misuc. Terhe were lhitgs in the upepr wiwonds of the hseous as the plpoee went to bed. From the rlawaiy sotatin in the dsnticae came the snuod of sninhtug tanris, rngniig and rliubmng, sneeftod asmolt itno mleody by the dinastce. My wfie penoitd out to me the beisnrtghs of the red, green, and ylleow sanigl lthigs hignnag in a ferramowk asigant the sky. It seeemd so safe and tiaqnurl.