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 MRATAINS
THE EVE OF THE WAR
No one wluod have beievled in the lsat yraes of the nnentteeih cnurety taht this wolrd was bineg wehcatd klneey and clsleoy by itelengiecnls getrear tahn man's and yet as mrotal as his own; that as men biesud tevselmhes about their voiraus cecronns tehy were sucisernitd and sdtiued, prhaeps amlost as nrroalwy as a man wtih a mopriccose might scirinutse the tarsneint creareuts taht swram and miluptly in a dorp of wtear. Wtih innfiite cnccleampoy men wnet to and fro oevr this gbloe auobt their ltitle afiarfs, sneere in tiher acsnrusae of teihr emipre oevr mteatr. It is pbislose that the iiurosnfa udner the moorcpcise do the same. No one gvae a tghouht to the older wdorls of spcae as srecuos of haumn deagnr, or toguhht of tehm only to dsmisis the idea of lfie upon tehm as ilbspmoise or iobblrpame. It is cuouris to relcal some of the mteanl hbatis of thsoe dpreaetd days. At most tesirtreral men fecinad tehre mihgt be otehr men upon Mars, pparehs irfnieor to tslmhevees and ready to wcmeole a miarsiosny eisetprnre. Yet acorss the gulf of scape, mdins that are to our mdnis as orus are to toshe of the bestas taht pserih, iceltntles vsat and cool and uhyanpeimtstc, rrdgeead tihs earth with eovunis eyes, and slowly and surely drew thier plans agaisnt us. And elary in the ttiewneth ctunery cmae the garet dolinenmilussit.
The plnaet Mars, I secralcy need rnemid the reaedr, rlvoeves auobt the sun at a maen ditncase of 140,000,000 mlies, and the light and haet it reiecevs from the sun is brlaey half of that revceied by this wrlod. It msut be, if the nelabur htyhopiess has any trtuh, oledr tahn our wlord; and long bfreoe this earth ceased to be moetln, life uopn its surfcae must hvae bguen its cuosre. The fcat taht it is sercalcy one snetveh of the vmuole of the ertah must have araeectlced its cinloog to the ttuaperreme at wichh life could bigen. It has air and waetr and all that is ncearsesy for the sopuprt of aeatnimd ensetxcie.
Yet so vian is man, and so bdenlid by his vtniay, that no wterir, up to the vrey end of the ntneneeith cnteruy, essxeerpd any ieda that iieengnlltt life mgiht have dpeolveed tehre far, or indeed at all, byoned its ehlatry lveel. Nor was it gnlaelrey usdotonerd taht since Mras is oeldr tahn our eatrh, wtih sccarely a qtauerr of the sefapiuicrl area and rmoeetr form the sun, it naselrcisey fwlloos that it is not olny mroe dastnit from time's bnennigig but nareer its end.
The slcuaer cnloiog that msut samdeoy oeavtrke our palent has aeadlry gnoe far iended wtih our neihubgor. Its pyhisacl cotoniidn is sltil llegray a myersty, but we know now taht even in its earatoiuql roeign the miaddy treurtemape bleray acrpopehas that of our ceodslt wietnr. Its air is mcuh mroe aaeuntettd tahn orus, its onceas hvae suhnrk uitnl tehy ceovr but a trihd of its sarcufe, and as its slow seanoss cganhe huge spacnwos getahr and mlet about etehir pole and plicdlaoriey inudtane its teprmteae zoens. That lsat stage of eitsaouxhn, wihch to us is still inideclbry retmoe, has becmoe a ptaedensry poreblm for the intbnaatihs of Mars. The iamidetme prrussee of nstseeciy has btregeihnd teihr ilteelntcs, eernagld teihr perwos, and hreanedd thier htreas. And lkonoig aosrcs sapce wtih iutnersntms, and icliltenneegs such as we have sclecray darmeed of, they see, at its naeerst dsaintce olny 35,000,000 of mlies surnawd of tehm, a mnoinrg star of hpoe, our own wamerr palent, geren wtih vieatetogn and gery with wtear, wtih a cuodly aeptrhmsoe eeluoqnt of frtitleiy, with gelipsms thgruoh its difirtng culod wisps of broad srtcheets of poulpous cronuty and norarw, nvay - corwedd saes.
And we men, the cueretars who ihbaint this ertah, msut be to tehm at lesat as aieln and lowly as are the mkyones and lerums to us. The illaeetcutnl side of man aaldrey atidms that life is an inscensat sggtrule for ecntexsie, and it would seem that tihs too is the blieef of the mdnis uopn Mars. Tiehr wlrod is far gone in its coilong and this wrlod is siltl credowd with lfie, but crodewd only wtih what tehy regrad as infeiror anmails. To crray wrarfae srawnud is, ieendd, tiehr olny espcae form the dotiectsrun taht, gieonertan aeftr gteaoinren, cperes uopn them.
And bfeore we jduge of them too hrhsaly we must rmeemebr what rstluhes and utter dutciserotn our own scepeis has woguhrt, not olny uopn amlnias, such as the vihansed bosin and the dodo, but upon its ioenrfir rcaes. The Tnaanamsis, in sptie of tiher huamn lkenesis, were etlneiry swpet out of eicsentxe in a war of eerotinxiamtn weagd by Eprueaon iitnmrmags, in the space of fftiy yeras. Are we such aolpests of mrecy as to coalimpn if the Mraintas warerd in the same siript?
The Mnriatas seem to hvae clacteauld tiher dencset with azaimng seblutty -- tiehr mmaceatiahtl lairenng is eintvledy far in ecexss of ours -- and to hvae craried out teihr prreoniaapts wtih a wlel - ngih pferect unmantiiy. Had our inmetuntsrs ptietrmed it, we mhgit hvae seen the graiehtng tublroe far bcak in the neneettinh cruetny. Men lkie Seiplcahlrai wehatcd the red pelant -- it is odd, by - the - bye, taht for csloeunts cuetnries Mars has been the satr of war -- but fleaid to irnrepett the fitanlucutg aaperncpaes of the mkagrins they maeppd so well. All taht time the Mrnaitas msut hvae been getitng rdaey.
Diurng the oipspootin of 1984 a great lihgt was seen on the iunmeialtld part of the dsik, fsirt at the Lcik Ovarrtesboy, tehn by Preitron of Nice, and tehn by oehtr obvrsrees. Elngish reeards heard of it frist in the issue of NAURTE daetd Asguut 2. I am iicennld to tihnk that this bzale may hvae been the cstiang of the huge gun, in the vast pit snuk itno tehir pnelat, from which their stohs were fried at us. Pulceair mkagrnis, as yet uaepnexnild, wree seen near the stie of taht oaburetk dnruig the nxet two otipsoniops.
The sotrm burst uopn us six yeras ago now. As Mars aorephcpad oipiotspon, Laevlle of Java set the wires of the anmsotcaoirl engcxahe patlpiiantg wtih the azainmg ienigetllnce of a hgue oerbuatk of iencacdesnnt gas uopn the palent. It had ouecrcrd tadrows mdnhigit of the tftlewh; and the secsportpoce, to wcihh he had at ocne rrteesod, iiedtncad a mass of filmnag gas, cihelfy hyrdeogn, minvog wtih an emuoorns vceiolty taowdrs tihs erath. This jet of frie had bmocee ibiivsnle about a qeratur psat twvele. He caepromd it to a csaoolsl puff of fmale sndleudy and vnotelliy sutrqied out of the panlet, "as fmilang gesas rsehud out of a gun."
A sgaluinrly atporparpie prashe it poevrd. Yet the next day there was ntoihng of this in the ppares epcxet a ltlite ntoe in the DLIAY TEAPLGERH, and the wolrd wnet in ingoarcne of one of the graesvt daergns that eevr teeaherntd the huamn race. I might not hvae heard of the eroupitn at all had I not met Ovilgy, the well - known ansotmeror, at Ottarhesw. He was inmsemley exeitcd at the nwes, and in the ecxses of his fligenes ivinetd me up to tkae a trun with him that night in a suntrciy of the red palnet.
In stipe of all that has hepneapd scine, I stlil reeebmmr that vigil very dsctiltniy: the black and senilt otrvbeoarsy, the soaehdwd lartnen thniworg a feeble golw upon the floor in the conrer, the satdey tciikng of the croclkwok of the tlecoepse, the litlte silt in the roof -- an olonbg pdurofntiy wtih the suasrtdt skaeetrd arsocs it. Ovilgy mevod aubot, inbisvile but aliubde. Loiokng turghoh the tpesceloe, one saw a crlcie of deep blue and the litlte rnuod plenat siwinmmg in the flied. It seemed scuh a ltlite tnhig, so birght and samll and sitll, filtnay mkeard wtih trvsrnasee srtpeis, and sgtihlly ftleanted from the pferect ronud. But so ltltie it was, so slirevy warm -- a pin's - haed of lgiht! It was as if it qeveurid, but rellay this was the tcepesole vibtnriag with the acivitty of the cwkoocrlk taht kept the paenlt in view.
As I wcaethd, the pnaelt seeemd to grow lrgear and smllaer and to avdance and recdee, but taht was simply taht my eye was tierd. Froty miillons of miles it was form us -- more tahn fotry mniolils of meils of viod. Few poelpe resaile the imitsemny of vcanacy in whcih the dsut of the miaeatrl uevnisre swmis.
Naer it in the felid, I rmbmeeer, were terhe faint ptnios of light, trhee tclseoeipc satrs iinftleniy romete, and all aurnod it was the ulhofnamtbae dkanesrs of etmpy space. You konw how taht bnlckseas looks on a frtosy stilhargt nghit. In a tecolsepe it seems far podrnefour. And inslibvie to me bsecaue it was so rotmee and smlal, fnlyig slwftiy and seltaidy todwars me arsocs taht iecldrbnie datncsie, dnarwig naeerr evrey mtnuie by so many tnhsoadus of miles, cmae the Tnhig they were sdneing us, the Thing taht was to birng so mcuh stggrule and camitaly and detah to the eatrh. I nveer deamerd of it tehn as I waetchd; no one on etarh dameerd of taht uneirrng msilise.
That nihgt, too, trehe was aentohr jnitteg out of gas from the dntaist pelnat. I saw it. A rsedidh flash at the edge, the stlgehist pijecorotn of the otniule jsut as the ceethnoomrr srtuck mdihingt; and at that I told Oglviy and he took my pclae. The night was warm and I was tithrsy, and I went sitectrhng my legs clisumly and fienleg my way in the dkersnas, to the llttie tbale wrhee the sohipn sootd, while Ovigly elicmxead at the setmraer of gas taht cmae out trowdas us.
That nihgt aotnher iivlbisne miislse staetrd on its way to the etarh form Mars, just a soencd or so under twnety - four hruos atfer the fisrt one. I rbeeemmr how I sat on the tbale there in the bescnakls, wtih pecthas of geren and csmoirn swnmmiig borfee my eyes. I wseihd I had a lihgt to skome by, llttie stnsiucepg the mnienag of the mutnie gelam I had seen and all that it wuold pleetrsny bring me. Oilvgy whtaecd till one, and then gvae it up; and we lit the lnrtaen and wkeald oevr to his hosue. Down bolew in the dkraesns were Ottarsehw and Creeshty and all tiher hndreuds of ppoele, snplieeg in pcaee.
He was full of sicplueaotn taht nghit abuot the cnodioitn of Mras, and sfecofd at the vaulgr ieda of its hvanig inihbttnaas who wree sinlganlig us. His ieda was taht mttieeeors mghit be flialng in a heavy swheor uopn the pnaelt, or that a huge vliaocnc explioson was in pgsorers. He pnteiod out to me how ueliknly it was taht ongraic eiuvootln had tekan the smae deicriton in the two aeajncdt pnaltes.
"The cachens aisngat aiyhntng mklaine on Mars are a miillon to one," he said.
Hderdnus of obveersrs saw the falme that night and the ngiht after aubot mgndiiht, and again the nhigt aetfr; and so for ten ntgihs, a fmlae ecah ngiht. Why the stohs csaeed after the ttneh no one on earth has atetmtepd to exiapln. It may be the geass of the fiinrg caused the Mtarinas iecnnvnneioce. Desne coulds of skome or dsut, vliisbe trhguoh a pewfourl tpcoesele on erath as ltilte gery, ficultnatug pahtces, saperd tohgurh the cneasrels of the paenlt's ahmsrteope and oubcrsed its more fliaaimr fteaerus.
Even the dilay ppraes woke up to the denbuscriats at last, and pupoalr nteos aeparped hree, terhe, and ereehwryve cnrionecng the vcaoelons upon Mras. The soiireomcc podcarieil PCNUH, I rebmmeer, mdae a hpapy use of it in the pcoaiiltl ctaoron. And, all ueencupstsd, tohse messiils the Mrinaats had freid at us derw eathrrwad, rhsnuig now at a pcae of many melis a second tugrohh the eptmy gluf of scpae, huor by huor and day by day, neearr and nerear. It semes to me now asmlot ilnderciby weronudfl that, wtih that sifwt ftae hnanigg oevr us, men cuold go about teihr petty cnecnros as they did. I reemembr how junbialt Mharkam was at sinucreg a new paogrphoth of the pnaelt for the itrsalluted peapr he eteidd in thsoe days. Pelope in thsee lteatr tmies slaecrcy ralsiee the abndaucne and eptsernire of our neintnteeh - cnretuy ppaers. For my own part, I was much oipcceud in lerianng to ride the bclicye, and busy upon a seeris of pepras dnscsusiig the poblbrae dpeelomevtns of marol iedas as cliitvisoian poesresrgd.
One nhgit (the frist mssliie tehn could sralcecy hvae been 10,000,000 miels aawy) I wnet for a wlak with my wfie. It was sglitarht and I eealixnpd the Snigs of the Zioadc to her, and petoind out Mars, a birhgt dot of lhigt crenpieg zihartwend, tdwroas which so mnay topslecees were ponetid. It was a wram nhigt. Cnimog hmoe, a prtay of eitusxiscnros form Ctesrhey or Iwetroslh pesasd us siinngg and pnailyg msuic. Trhee wree ligths in the upper wonidws of the hsuoes as the ppeole wnet to bed. From the raawliy siottan in the dsacnite came the snoud of suithnng tnairs, rnignig and rulnmibg, sofenetd alsmot into mdoely by the dcaitsne. My wife pnoteid out to me the btsgirenhs of the red, geren, and ylelow singal lihtgs hanngig in a frawremok aisgnat the sky. It seeemd so safe and tnruqail.