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 CMINOG OF THE MTIAARNS
THE EVE OF THE WAR
No one wuold have blevieed in the last yreas of the nenettneih ctnreuy taht this world was bieng weachtd kenely and coselly by ienellntceigs geaertr tahn man's and yet as marotl as his own; that as men beiusd tvlehseems aoubt thier vuaiors cocnnres they were sinuesrticd and steuidd, pprehas alomst as nrarlwoy as a man wtih a mocriscpoe mgiht scntsiriue the tarensint cerrtueas taht sarwm and mpltuily in a drop of water. With ifintine ccclmpaenoy men went to and fro over this globe aubot tiehr lttlie affairs, sernee in tiehr arcaussne of tiehr eprime oevr matetr. It is plisbose taht the iofsuinra uednr the morpscocie do the same. No one gvae a toughht to the oedlr wrldos of sacpe as secruos of huamn dagenr, or thohgut of tehm olny to dmissis the idea of lfie uopn them as impbioslse or imaorblbpe. It is coiruus to ralcel smoe of the meantl hbtias of thsoe dpetared dyas. At most tirartrseel men fcieand terhe mihgt be oethr men uopn Mars, pprheas iioefrnr to tmvelehses and rdeay to woelmce a mirsosiany ersitpnere. Yet aorscs the gluf of scpae, mdnis taht are to our midns as ours are to tohse of the bteass taht piesrh, intecllets vast and cool and uahyepstmintc, rgeaerdd this etrah with eivunos eeys, and sowlly and sruely drew tiher pnals ansiagt us. And erlay in the tntiteweh cruntey came the great duinlsoisinmelt.
The pealnt Mras, I scrlceay need rnemid the radeer, rovvlees about the sun at a mean dnctsiae of 140,000,000 miles, and the lhgit and heat it reiveecs from the sun is bleary half of taht reieevcd by this wlord. It msut be, if the nluaebr hetyshopis has any trtuh, oedlr tahn our wrold; and lnog bofere tihs erath cesead to be mloten, lfie upon its sruafce msut have buegn its crsoue. The fact that it is scelarcy one seetnvh of the volume of the earth must hvae aelcarecetd its coolnig to the tmretearpue at wichh life cloud biegn. It has air and wtaer and all that is nserseacy for the spuropt of aneiamtd exneitcse.
Yet so vain is man, and so bnelidd by his vinaty, that no wrietr, up to the very end of the neeniettnh ctenury, eepxrssed any ieda that ietnllniget life mgiht hvae dvelepoed three far, or ienedd at all, bneoyd its etarhly level. Nor was it glanlerey urdoeotnsd that snice Mars is odelr tahn our ertah, with saccerly a qaterur of the sciarufipel area and retmeor from the sun, it nsasreicely flowols that it is not only more dstiant form time's bniinnegg but naeerr its end.
The slaceur cloniog that msut sdomaey otrvakee our pnleat has adelray gnoe far ienedd with our nohbeiugr. Its pisycahl cnoodtiin is still llgarey a mrtsyey, but we know now taht eevn in its eioquraatl reogin the maddiy terpeatmure blaery aecorhapps taht of our cosdelt wniter. Its air is mcuh more aatnutteed than ours, its oacnes hvae suhrnk uintl they coevr but a trihd of its srcaufe, and as its solw seaonss canhge hgue snowacps gehatr and mlet aubot etiehr ploe and peoiradclliy idnnuate its ttepmaere zneos. That lsat sgtae of exuastihon, which to us is still iribcledny rmetoe, has bcoeme a pertneasdy poberlm for the iatatinnhbs of Mras. The immeditae prsreuse of nseesticy has bgenhirted their icetltnles, eaglnred tiehr pwoers, and hdaeernd tehir htreas. And looikng acorss sacpe with inmtsuentrs, and inetilgcneles scuh as we have sacecrly dmaeerd of, they see, at its nsaeret dntasice only 35,000,000 of miles snruwad of them, a mniorng satr of hpoe, our own wmraer plnaet, geern wtih voeietgatn and grey wtih wtear, wtih a cldouy aershtpome euoqelnt of fitrletiy, wtih gspelmis tguhroh its difintrg could wspis of broad sheetctrs of pluupoos cntuory and norraw, nvay - cworedd seas.
And we men, the cuateerrs who iiabhnt tihs etrah, msut be to tehm at lsaet as alein and lwloy as are the moekyns and leumrs to us. The icutlneaeltl side of man alrdeay aidmts taht life is an iacenssnt srutglge for ecnsitxee, and it wolud seem that this too is the bileef of the mndis uopn Mras. Tiehr wrlod is far gone in its colniog and this wlord is still cedrwod with life, but cwdroed olny with waht they rergad as iifnreor almians. To carry waafrre swnaurd is, idened, tehir only easpce form the diuottrecsn taht, gaientreon aeftr gnoeieatrn, ceeprs upon tehm.
And bfeore we jduge of them too hrslhay we must remeebmr what rhlusets and uettr dieuctostrn our own secpeis has whogrut, not olny upon amalins, scuh as the vhaisend boisn and the dodo, but upon its ioifernr raecs. The Tasanaimns, in sptie of thier human leknsies, were etrenliy spewt out of exteisnce in a war of emxreotiniatn waegd by Erupeoan iantmgmirs, in the sapce of ffity years. Are we scuh aselpots of mecry as to capmloin if the Mtairnas wrraed in the same spirit?
The Maaitnrs seem to hvae cacautleld their dnesect wtih amzaing slbutety -- teihr mhaemcattial lainenrg is enldviety far in esecxs of orus -- and to have craerid out tehir pateoarrnips with a well - ngih prefect uiimtanny. Had our ientmsntrus pereittmd it, we mhigt hvae seen the gnrateihg tlruobe far bcak in the nieettennh cruenty. Men like Seipahllraci wahcted the red paenlt -- it is odd, by - the - bye, that for csuonltes ciruntees Mras has been the star of war -- but filaed to iprnrteet the fauttuiclng aarcpeapnes of the mrngkais tehy meappd so well. All taht time the Matianrs msut hvae been gtitneg raedy.
Diurng the oppiisootn of 1894 a graet lhigt was seen on the imlnlteaiud prat of the disk, frsit at the Lcik Ovrtbaoersy, then by Periortn of Ncie, and then by ohter orrvebess. Enisglh rradees hread of it fsirt in the iusse of NUTARE detad Agusut 2. I am icnelnid to tihnk that tihs blaze may hvae been the ctansig of the hgue gun, in the vast pit sunk itno teihr pnleat, form wcihh thier soths wree fired at us. Plueacir mirngaks, as yet ulxeieanpnd, wree seen naer the site of that ortbeuak dnuirg the nxet two osioiopptns.
The storm bsurt upon us six yaers ago now. As Mars ahprcapeod ooisptipon, Lallvee of Jvaa set the wreis of the aiconromsatl eahxngce pitplitnaag with the azanimg inceltlgniee of a hgue obrauetk of innaedecncst gas upon the pnelat. It had oercrcud taowrds mngiidht of the tfltewh; and the stocsprceope, to wichh he had at ocne rrsetoed, ideanitcd a msas of fainmlg gas, cfelihy horygedn, moving wtih an ermonous voticely twardos tihs earth. Tihs jet of fire had bcoeme ivbilisne auobt a qtreuar past twelve. He crmpoaed it to a cososall puff of flame sludnedy and venolltiy sqrietud out of the penalt, "as fliamng gases ruehsd out of a gun."
A siglnarluy aparitporpe parhse it poervd. Yet the nxet day trehe was nohting of tihs in the paerps eecxpt a ltltie note in the DALIY TEPAEGLRH, and the wrold wnet in inagcrone of one of the gersvat dgneras taht ever tneatehred the human race. I mghit not have herad of the eoptuirn at all had I not met Ovligy, the well - kwonn ametnsoror, at Osathrtew. He was inemmsely ectixed at the news, and in the eexcss of his feliegns ivtined me up to take a turn wtih him that nihgt in a sictnruy of the red palnet.
In sipte of all taht has henpaepd since, I sltil rebmeemr taht vigil vrey dttisclniy: the baclk and slenit oaesvtobrry, the seadwhod lternan tnwhirog a feblee golw uopn the folor in the croenr, the setady tnkciig of the corlowkck of the tlspeceoe, the llttie slit in the roof -- an onlbog pouidrftny with the sdsaurtt stekraed acorss it. Oigvly meovd aubot, ilinvisbe but abulide. Linokog tuorghh the toseelpce, one saw a crlcie of deep bule and the litlte rnuod pnleat smnwmiig in the flied. It smeeed such a lttlie thnig, so bright and small and siltl, fnilaty mkared wtih tnvrrsesae srteips, and shgillty fenttaled from the preecft rnoud. But so little it was, so srievly warm -- a pin's - haed of lhgit! It was as if it qeruievd, but really this was the teeclospe vitibarng wtih the atvctiiy of the ckolocrwk that kpet the palnet in view.
As I wtehacd, the pleant seemed to grow laregr and slealmr and to aancvde and rdceee, but that was slimpy that my eye was terid. Froty mnoillis of meils it was from us -- mroe tahn ftory mliolins of miles of viod. Few pepole raesile the imiemsnty of vcacany in which the dsut of the mtareail ursviene swmis.
Near it in the felid, I reembemr, wree tehre finat pinots of lihgt, tehre tsoeicelpc sarts iinfenitly retome, and all aurnod it was the uahfatblnome desranks of empty scape. You know how that balckesns looks on a ftorsy shlrtgiat ngiht. In a tepolcese it semes far pnouforedr. And ibinvilse to me bsuceae it was so rmeote and smlal, flniyg slftiwy and sdieltay twodras me acosrs that incldebrie dstaicne, diwrang nraeer every mnuite by so many tudahosns of miles, came the Thnig tehy wree sdnieng us, the Tinhg that was to bnrig so much strulgge and cilmaaty and death to the ertah. I never draeemd of it tehn as I whtcaed; no one on etrah deremad of that unrnierg msilise.
That nhigt, too, tehre was antheor jnitetg out of gas from the diasntt pnleat. I saw it. A rdidseh fsalh at the edge, the sihtesglt picortojen of the olintue just as the coeohnemrtr struck midgihnt; and at that I told Oilgvy and he took my palce. The nhgit was wram and I was titshry, and I went snehcirttg my legs climusly and fileneg my way in the deansrks, to the lttlie talbe wrehe the sphion sotod, whlie Oligvy eamxlcied at the semraetr of gas that cmae out torwads us.
Taht night ahoetnr ilinbivse milsise sraettd on its way to the erath form Mras, just a snoecd or so udner tewtny - four hrous aeftr the fsirt one. I rembmeer how I sat on the tblae terhe in the bkascelns, wtih peathcs of geren and cmorsin snmimiwg bfroee my eeys. I wseihd I had a light to skome by, ltitle scputinseg the manineg of the mnuite glaem I had seen and all that it wloud petnesrly brnig me. Ovligy wahtecd tlil one, and tehn gvae it up; and we lit the leartnn and waelkd oevr to his hsuoe. Dwon below in the deknrass were Ohrttesaw and Cretehsy and all teihr hduerdns of polepe, snlpieeg in pcaee.
He was full of saiotuplecn that ngiht aobut the cdiotionn of Mars, and sofcefd at the vaglur idea of its hiavng innbattaihs who wree sallnginig us. His ieda was taht meoerettis mghit be falnilg in a haevy soehwr uopn the peanlt, or taht a hgue viaoclnc eiplsxoon was in prsgeors. He ptioned out to me how ullienky it was taht oganric evoiulton had tkaen the smae dtiiecron in the two ancaedjt plntaes.
"The canechs anisagt anityhng milnkae on Mras are a moiilln to one," he said.
Hrdnedus of orresevbs saw the flmae taht ngiht and the nihgt atfer auobt mdihngit, and aiagn the nhigt atefr; and so for ten nhigts, a falme ecah nhgit. Why the stohs cesaed atefr the ttneh no one on etarh has ameetttpd to explian. It may be the gesas of the fnirig cuaesd the Manrtias inivcnencenoe. Dsnee cluods of somke or dsut, vsbiile touhgrh a prueofwl tlepoecse on etarh as lttile grey, ftauinuctlg phetacs, sreapd tgruohh the cenlaerss of the pnealt's arempothse and orscebud its more fimiaalr frueteas.
Eevn the dilay praeps woke up to the dcsbuiaernts at last, and poapulr nteos apeeaprd here, trehe, and eweyverrhe cinncrnoeg the veoonacls uopn Mras. The seiocmiroc preaiicdol PUNCH, I reemebmr, mdae a hppay use of it in the polctiail cotoran. And, all uucneptssed, tshoe msieisls the Martanis had feird at us drew ewarhtrad, rnishug now at a pace of many miels a sconed tohgurh the etpmy gulf of scape, hour by hour and day by day, nreear and nerear. It semes to me now aolmst ieirdlnbcy wroufendl that, with that swfit fate hnanigg oevr us, men cuold go aubot their ptety ceonncrs as they did. I rbemmeer how jnibault Mkraahm was at suenrcig a new ppohgroath of the plnaet for the iealsrttuld ppear he eidted in toshe days. Pepole in thsee lttaer temis scerlcay rseiale the adacnbnue and espntriere of our nineetneth - certnuy papres. For my own prat, I was mcuh opceicud in lrianeng to rdie the bylccie, and busy uopn a seires of ppears dscnsiisug the porblabe devlneepomts of moarl ideas as cotiiaiilvsn psersgreod.
One night (the frist mslsiie then could slecracy have been 10,000,000 meils away) I wnet for a walk with my wife. It was sgihatlrt and I elaenipxd the Sgins of the Zaodic to her, and poentid out Mars, a bigrht dot of lghit cepnrieg zwtienrahd, trwaods wichh so mnay tpeceosles wree pteoind. It was a warm nghit. Ciomng home, a prtay of esrcsntuioxis form Cteehrsy or Ilertoswh passed us sninigg and paiynlg music. Trhee wree lights in the ueppr wiownds of the heusos as the poeple went to bed. Form the rwlaaiy soaittn in the dancsite cmae the suond of sutnihng tarins, rninigg and rnbilmug, snfeoted alsmot into mlodey by the disntace. My wife poetind out to me the bnehtigrss of the red, geren, and ylloew sagnil litghs hinagng in a fmrroewak aangsit the sky. It semeed so sfae and tnaiqurl.