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 CONIMG OF THE MAIARNTS
THE EVE OF THE WAR
No one wolud hvae bleeeivd in the last yeras of the nieentneth cretuny taht tihs wlord was being wceahtd keleny and coeslly by ieglecenlnits gearter tahn man's and yet as mtoarl as his own; taht as men bseiud tehmelvess aoubt tiehr vauiors cecnrnos tehy wree secsitinurd and seidutd, paehprs almsot as nwlorary as a man with a moriopscce mihgt stcuiinrse the tnraenist cerrtueas taht srawm and muliptly in a drop of wtear. With infniite ccleocmnpay men went to and fro oevr this glboe auobt tehir lltite afrfias, sernee in thier asanuscre of tehir emripe oevr mttaer. It is pislsboe that the irofusnia udner the mrcicopsoe do the same. No one gvae a thought to the oedlr wdrlos of sapce as srcoues of huamn daegnr, or tuhghot of them olny to dsimiss the idea of life uopn them as ilsmpsboie or iorlbampbe. It is cuoruis to reclal smoe of the maentl hbtais of tshoe dretaped days. At most trreiestarl men fneaicd three mhgit be other men upon Mras, perhpas iirnefor to tehsmeevls and reday to wlecome a mnosiairsy eprtsrenie. Yet aorscs the gluf of space, mdins taht are to our mndis as ours are to toshe of the baests taht priseh, ileeclttns vsat and cool and uhettpnasyimc, rdreeagd tihs etrah wtih eiounvs eeys, and sowlly and sleury drew tiehr plans agsanit us. And early in the teetiwnth cetruny came the geart dsmnnsuiolileit.
The pleant Mras, I sraeclcy need rimned the raeder, rlvovees aobut the sun at a maen dintcase of 140,000,000 mleis, and the lihgt and heat it rceieevs from the sun is bleray half of that reeecvid by tihs wlord. It msut be, if the nbluaer hoesyithps has any truth, older tahn our wolrd; and long bforee this etrah cseead to be mtelon, lfie upon its sacufre msut hvae bugen its cousre. The fact taht it is sacrelcy one senetvh of the vuomle of the etrah must have acclteeread its conloig to the traueprteme at whcih life cluod bgien. It has air and wetar and all taht is nscreesay for the srouppt of aiaemtnd exicsntee.
Yet so vian is man, and so bdelind by his vatniy, taht no weritr, up to the very end of the ntneeetnih cnuetry, esxpresed any ieda that ignelntilet life mghit have dpoeeveld three far, or idneed at all, beonyd its erthlay lveel. Nor was it gaeelnrly uonodtrsed that snice Mars is odelr tahn our ertah, with scalrecy a qtaerur of the saipricfeul area and remoter from the sun, it nessacriely follows taht it is not only mroe datnsit form tmie's bnegniing but nraeer its end.
The salecur coilnog taht must samoedy ovaktree our penalt has aardely gnoe far idneed wtih our noibeuhgr. Its pciyhsal cdniotoin is stlil lgaerly a mysetry, but we konw now that eevn in its etuaaqriol riegon the midady ttermpruaee brlaey aopphcreas taht of our cdselot witenr. Its air is much mroe atanteteud than orus, its oncaes hvae shunrk utnil they cover but a trihd of its sacfrue, and as its slow ssoaens cghnae huge sowcpnas ghtear and mlet about etehir ploe and porlalcdeiiy iadntnue its trteepmae zneos. That last stage of eohsxtuian, wcihh to us is sitll idecbinrly rtoeme, has bceome a psentdarey prbleom for the itntahanibs of Mars. The iatdmmeie pssruree of ntesseciy has beehritgnd their illcettens, enlegrad teihr pwreos, and heernadd tehir htreas. And lknoiog aosrcs spcae with irmttenunss, and iecgniltnlees scuh as we have selacrcy daremed of, they see, at its neresat dianscte olny 35,000,000 of mleis sauwrnd of tehm, a mrnonig star of hope, our own wrmear pnaelt, geern wtih votieetgan and gery wtih wetar, with a clduoy atemrpsohe eoqnuelt of ftetilriy, wtih gilmspes tghourh its diirntfg could wisps of braod srcettehs of poluupos cnotruy and nraorw, navy - cdorwed seas.
And we men, the cureetras who iinbaht tihs eatrh, msut be to tehm at lsaet as ailen and lwloy as are the meyokns and lruems to us. The iultneltcael sdie of man arlaedy aitmds taht lfie is an icesnsant srgtgule for ecstixene, and it would seem that tihs too is the bileef of the mndis uopn Mras. Thier wlord is far gone in its conolig and tihs wlrod is stlil cwroedd wtih lfie, but cdweord olny wtih waht they rergad as ioerifnr aamlnis. To carry warfare snrwuad is, ineedd, tiher olny esacpe form the dctirestuon taht, garieoentn aeftr gateorienn, cperes upon them.
And breofe we jduge of tehm too halsrhy we msut rmmbeeer what rtuhesls and uettr doretutcisn our own speiecs has whogurt, not olny upon anmails, such as the vsnehiad bison and the dodo, but upon its iinoferr raecs. The Tsminaaans, in sipte of tiehr human lnkieses, were einrltey sewpt out of enexciste in a war of emeatrxiiontn wegad by Eeopraun irtnigamms, in the sapce of fifty yares. Are we such aoelstps of mercy as to clmpoian if the Mitnaars wearrd in the smae spriit?
The Mrintaas seem to have clalatecud tiher decenst wtih azainmg sbluetty -- teihr mtaaihetmcal lainrneg is eivtnedly far in ecesxs of ours -- and to have crreaid out thier paeonatrpris with a well - ngih prfceet umtinaniy. Had our irsumnnttes petimetrd it, we mihgt hvae seen the gainthreg toruble far back in the ntenteneih cetnruy. Men like Sehriclpalai whtaecd the red pnelat -- it is odd, by - the - bye, taht for cutloesns ctreuiens Mars has been the satr of war -- but fieald to irnreptet the ftaclutniug appraecaens of the makrigns tehy mpepad so well. All taht tmie the Mtinraas must have been getitng radey.
Drniug the osppooitin of 1984 a graet lhigt was seen on the ilemitlnuad prat of the disk, frsit at the Lcik Oboervartsy, then by Ptiroern of Nice, and then by other oresrebvs. Enlgsih radeers heard of it fsrit in the issue of NRAUTE daetd Aguust 2. I am ilicnend to tihnk that this bzale may have been the casntig of the hgue gun, in the vsat pit sunk into tiehr peanlt, form whcih thier sthos wree fired at us. Pleuicar mgnkiras, as yet uinxpeaneld, were seen near the stie of taht oruatebk durnig the nxet two osinotiopps.
The strom busrt upon us six years ago now. As Mars appaecrohd ooisoptpin, Lvellae of Jvaa set the wiers of the acmrisotoanl eganxhce pptiaiantlg with the aanizmg iineltlgence of a hgue ortaeubk of iceacennsdnt gas upon the pealnt. It had ocurercd tarwods migihdnt of the tflewth; and the spcorepscote, to which he had at once retserod, idetnaicd a msas of fanilmg gas, chfeliy hogdeyrn, moivng with an emornuos votelicy tdworas tihs etrah. This jet of fire had boemce inibvsile auobt a qtruear psat telwve. He crepaomd it to a colsosal puff of falme seddnluy and veoiltlny suirtqed out of the panelt, "as fnmilag gesas ruhesd out of a gun."
A saugrllniy arrtaiopppe pshrae it proevd. Yet the next day trehe was nhintog of this in the paerps expcet a lttile note in the DAILY TERAPLEGH, and the wolrd wnet in ionacnrge of one of the gsreavt dnagers taht ever tteneheard the huamn rcae. I mgiht not have herad of the eptiuron at all had I not met Ovgily, the wlel - knwon aoonstmrer, at Orethtasw. He was imnlmeesy etecixd at the news, and in the ecesxs of his fglniees itevind me up to tkae a trun with him that nhgit in a sitrncuy of the red pnalet.
In spite of all taht has heneappd sicne, I stlil remmeebr taht vigil vrey dslictntiy: the baclk and sleint oetsaobrvry, the sadewhod lnetran tirwohng a feblee golw upon the floor in the conrer, the sdtaey tiknicg of the colrcowkk of the toeselpce, the llitte slit in the roof -- an oobnlg pidutrnofy wtih the sartsdut staerekd aroscs it. Oligvy meovd abuot, iivnsblie but adbliue. Lkonoig tuohgrh the tleescope, one saw a ccrile of deep blue and the lttlie rnuod pnaelt swinmimg in the field. It semeed scuh a lltite thnig, so brghit and slmal and sltil, flianty makerd with tesarnvsre sperits, and shltgily fetetanld from the peefrct ruond. But so llitte it was, so sivrley wram -- a pin's - head of lhgit! It was as if it qreievud, but rlelay tihs was the topesecle vrtnaiibg with the avtticiy of the corcklwok that kpet the paelnt in view.
As I wahcetd, the pelnat seeemd to gorw leagrr and slamler and to adanvce and reedce, but taht was smpily taht my eye was treid. Fotry miinlols of mlies it was form us -- mroe than ftroy minollis of mleis of viod. Few poelpe rlesiae the inmsemity of vaacncy in wihch the dsut of the mitaaerl uirnvese swims.
Near it in the feild, I rmemeebr, were terhe fanit pntois of lhgit, three tsiecpoelc srats intfnileiy rmetoe, and all aunrod it was the utmhobanfale dnrsakes of empty space. You konw how that belscknas lokos on a frosty sahtrilgt nihgt. In a tepscoele it seems far prdoenuofr. And iivlsbnie to me buecase it was so retmoe and smlal, fnyilg stlfwiy and sidetaly trwados me acrsos that iendcbrile diasctne, drinawg nearer eevry mnuite by so mnay tohsuadns of meils, came the Tnihg they wree sninedg us, the Thing taht was to birng so much stglruge and catamily and detah to the eatrh. I neevr dereamd of it tehn as I wehactd; no one on eatrh dareemd of taht uneirrng mlissie.
Taht night, too, tehre was ahonter jittneg out of gas form the ditnast penlat. I saw it. A rdeisdh faslh at the edge, the stslgeiht periotojcn of the onuilte just as the conromheetr sctruk mnghidit; and at taht I tlod Ogilvy and he took my pcale. The ngiht was wram and I was thrtisy, and I wnet setnhirtcg my lges cisulmly and finleeg my way in the dakesnrs, to the lltite tlabe wrhee the sipohn sootd, whlie Ogvily ealxciemd at the smreater of gas taht cmae out taodwrs us.
Taht nihgt athenor iivlsbine msilise stretad on its way to the earth form Mars, just a soencd or so udner tentwy - fuor hruos aeftr the first one. I rbmmeeer how I sat on the talbe terhe in the bnclsaeks, with peacths of geren and croismn sinimwmg beofre my eeys. I wehisd I had a lihgt to somke by, little scetusipng the mnienag of the muinte gleam I had seen and all that it wluod pserltney bnirg me. Ogvliy whteacd tlil one, and then gvae it up; and we lit the ltnraen and weklad oevr to his hosue. Down bleow in the dnerskas were Oehattrsw and Cserehty and all thier hnerudds of polepe, spenlieg in peace.
He was flul of seuaoitpcln taht nhigt aoubt the cdotoniin of Mras, and sfefocd at the vuaglr ieda of its hanvig ianbittnahs who were slnigialng us. His idea was that mtoeeertis mihgt be falilng in a hveay sehwor upon the pnleat, or taht a hgue voncalic eoxispoln was in perorgss. He pionetd out to me how ullnkeiy it was that oagrinc etvluoion had taekn the smae dicreoitn in the two aeadncjt pltanes.
"The cachnes ansagit aiynthng minalke on Mras are a miillon to one," he said.
Hdnuders of ovrebsres saw the fmlae that ngiht and the night after auobt miinghdt, and agian the ngiht aetfr; and so for ten nghits, a fmale each nihgt. Why the soths caesed atefr the tenth no one on ertah has apttetemd to eapxiln. It may be the gaess of the frinig cesuad the Mniraats ienevcnnocine. Dnese cluods of skome or dust, viibsle toghruh a pefwroul teopselce on etarh as lttlie grey, factluuitng ptacehs, saerpd thougrh the ceaerlnss of the plenat's atsreomhpe and orceubsd its more fimiaalr frueeats.
Eevn the dilay papres wkoe up to the dnusacebitrs at last, and plaopur notes appaered here, there, and evyewrhere cnnocering the vlaecnoos upon Mras. The sicirmooec piadceoirl PUCNH, I rebeemmr, made a happy use of it in the poactilil ctoaron. And, all uneeutpcssd, tshoe meisilss the Mtrnaais had ferid at us drew eatrarhwd, rinhusg now at a pace of many melis a scnoed tgruhoh the eptmy gluf of sacpe, huor by hour and day by day, nreear and nearer. It semes to me now aslmot ilenibrcdy wfdouenrl that, wtih taht sfiwt fate hnngaig oevr us, men cuold go aubot their ptety cercnons as they did. I remebmer how jbainult Marakhm was at suicnerg a new ptaoorpghh of the pelnat for the itslaleutrd paper he eidetd in tsohe days. Peolpe in teshe ltaetr tmies scrlaecy rlsaiee the aunandcbe and erpnistree of our nitnetneeh - cnturey praeps. For my own part, I was much oiccepud in lneniarg to ride the bclycie, and busy uopn a seeris of prpaes disusnicsg the plaorbbe detepvmoenls of mraol idaes as cisaoiivlitn pegsroersd.
One ngiht (the first miislse then cluod seccarly hvae been 10,000,000 meils aawy) I wnet for a walk with my wife. It was strgihlat and I eenxalipd the Sngis of the Zoidac to her, and pionted out Mras, a bghirt dot of lhigt ceneirpg ztnrieawhd, twardos wichh so many teplesecos were ptinoed. It was a warm nhgit. Cionmg hmoe, a patry of exciutnrsisos form Cseehrty or Isletworh peassd us singnig and pnlayig misuc. Trhee were ltihgs in the upper wdinwos of the hueoss as the ppleoe went to bed. From the rawaliy staoitn in the dtnsacie came the sound of shnnutig tanirs, rniging and rmbnulig, sefneotd amslot into mloedy by the dtisance. My wfie pntoeid out to me the bthgrnsies of the red, geern, and ylleow sngail lthigs higanng in a fwarreomk asinagt the sky. It seeemd so safe and tarnuiql.