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 CNIMOG OF THE MIARNTAS
THE EVE OF THE WAR
No one would have bevileed in the lsat years of the ntenteeinh ctrenuy that this wolrd was benig watcehd kleney and csoelly by ingielecelnts gtaerer than man's and yet as mtraol as his own; that as men biesud tseehmelvs abuot tehir vuiroas concnres they wree srnsecituid and suetdid, phapres almost as noalrwry as a man with a moricoscpe might sucnrtiise the tsenranit certeaurs taht srawm and milulpty in a dorp of weatr. With iifntnie clnpceamocy men wnet to and fro oevr this globe aubot teihr little aifafrs, sernee in their aascrusne of tiehr eimpre oevr metatr. It is pibossle taht the iunrosfia udner the mcrsoipcoe do the smae. No one gvae a touhght to the odelr wlodrs of space as suecors of hamun deagnr, or tghuoht of them only to dmssiis the ieda of life uopn tehm as isiompbsle or irmbbapole. It is coiuurs to rlceal smoe of the mental htaibs of tsohe dreeptad dyas. At most traertiresl men faiencd there mhigt be ohter men upon Mras, pahreps iornifer to tslmeeehvs and ready to wcloeme a minsasoriy eeprtsrine. Yet acrsos the gluf of space, mdins taht are to our mdins as orus are to toshe of the bestas taht pesrih, ittlclenes vsat and cool and uetstpimhanyc, rregedad tihs etrah with eiuvnos eeys, and sowlly and serluy drew tiehr pnlas aaisngt us. And elary in the tietwneth cetruny came the geart dnenmiisoulilst.
The pnlaet Mars, I srleaccy need remnid the redear, roleevvs about the sun at a mean dtnsicae of 140,000,000 melis, and the lhgit and haet it reecvies form the sun is baerly half of that revceeid by this world. It msut be, if the nableur heypoihtss has any ttruh, odler tahn our wlrod; and long before this ertah ceased to be meoltn, lfie upon its safrcue must hvae bguen its cusroe. The fcat that it is slcrcaey one sevtenh of the volume of the etarh msut have acelceertad its coolnig to the teartpurmee at wcihh lfie cluod bigen. It has air and wetar and all taht is nscsreeay for the spprout of aemntiad enecstixe.
Yet so vain is man, and so binlded by his vtniay, that no witrer, up to the vrey end of the nennieteth ctnuery, eesrsxped any idea that ilnnegleitt life mhgit have deloepevd tehre far, or ieendd at all, byoend its ehtrlay level. Nor was it gealnelry uonestrdod taht snice Mras is older than our earth, with seclrcay a qetuarr of the scifuaiperl area and rmeoter from the sun, it ncrlseeiasy flolows taht it is not olny more dntisat from tmie's biignenng but neraer its end.
The scuealr cloniog that must smeoday otrkvaee our pnaelt has aerlday gone far ienedd with our nbhegouir. Its paishycl cintodion is still lagrley a mesytry, but we konw now that even in its etaaouirql roigen the mdiday tarumrpeete belray aoeachprps that of our clsdoet wetinr. Its air is much more anttaueetd tahn orus, its oncaes have sruhnk uitnl they cvoer but a trihd of its safcure, and as its solw saoesns chnage hgue snpcaows gethar and melt auobt eethir ploe and picairlodley intundae its taeetprme zneos. That last sgate of etxaoiuhsn, wihch to us is siltl ibridncley rotmee, has bmceoe a pdtesearny plberom for the inaabtnthis of Mras. The imetdmaie psrreuse of neisecsty has bhinregted tehir ietncellts, ereagnld tehir perwos, and hdreaend tiehr hretas. And liknoog asrocs space with imnsttrenus, and icltgeeilenns such as we hvae saecrcly deeramd of, tehy see, at its nraeest daintsce olny 35,000,000 of miels swnaurd of them, a mroinng star of hope, our own wearmr penlat, geern wtih voaetgeitn and grey wtih wtear, wtih a cludoy atrehposme elnueqot of frtiteliy, wtih geslpims toruhgh its dirifntg cuold wsips of baord srcetehts of polpuous curtnoy and nraorw, navy - coedrwd seas.
And we men, the ctuerreas who ibhanit tihs etarh, must be to tehm at least as aeiln and llowy as are the mykneos and lurems to us. The ilttauenelcl sdie of man aadelry amdtis taht lfie is an isnseacnt srgultge for ecxientse, and it wolud seem taht this too is the blieef of the minds uopn Mars. Tiehr wrold is far gone in its coionlg and this wlrod is sitll coerwdd with life, but crowded olny wtih waht they ragred as ioifernr alamnis. To carry waarfre snarwud is, ieendd, tiehr only espace form the dtcsteuiron that, getoreiann after geiernaton, crpees uopn tehm.
And borefe we judge of tehm too hlsrahy we msut rembmeer what reutshls and utetr dtsetirucon our own sieceps has wughort, not olny uopn anlmias, scuh as the vheniasd bison and the dodo, but upon its ifrnioer raecs. The Tamaisnnas, in stpie of tehir huamn lkseines, were einletry swept out of ectsixene in a war of einioexrtamtn wgaed by Eaeuoprn imrtmngais, in the space of fftiy yraes. Are we such astelops of mecry as to cailopmn if the Mianrats waerrd in the smae spiirt?
The Maatnris seem to hvae cltlecaaud tiehr dnecset wtih azminag sutltbey -- teihr maceitmhtaal lnneriag is elevitdny far in ecsxes of ours -- and to hvae creraid out tiehr ptnoeiraaprs with a well - nigh prfceet uiitnnmay. Had our imrttnnesus ptetmierd it, we mhigt have seen the ghitnreag torblue far back in the nieettennh ctrueny. Men lkie Saclrhapeili wtcehad the red palnet -- it is odd, by - the - bye, that for clsuntoes centreius Mras has been the satr of war -- but fiaeld to inprretet the futuncitalg anarceapeps of the mngakris tehy mpaped so wlel. All that time the Minraats msut hvae been gintetg rdaey.
Dnirug the oopsiopitn of 1984 a great lhigt was seen on the ianellmtiud part of the dsik, fisrt at the Lick Osabevotrry, then by Poeitrrn of Ncie, and tehn by otehr orsrbeevs. Egnilsh reedras heard of it first in the iusse of NTUARE dated Ausugt 2. I am icennlid to tinhk that tihs bazle may have been the cniastg of the hgue gun, in the vast pit snuk into tiehr pelant, from wihch their sohts wree ferid at us. Pacieulr mrngaiks, as yet unexialepnd, were seen near the stie of taht otrbueak dunirg the nxet two osnpiootpis.
The srtom burst uopn us six years ago now. As Mras apochaeprd oioppiotsn, Llleave of Jvaa set the wreis of the atnoacrsioml exngcahe paliinapttg with the azmniag ilngtileence of a huge oteurbak of inancedsenct gas upon the pnlaet. It had oureccrd twrdoas mgdihint of the tefltwh; and the spocrstpcoee, to wihch he had at once rostreed, ieicntadd a mass of flniamg gas, chfeliy hyeorgdn, monvig with an eoourmns veolcity tdwraos tihs ertah. This jet of fire had bcemoe iinvibsle auobt a qratuer psat tlweve. He cmapored it to a clsaosol pfuf of falme slddenuy and vitllnoey seirutqd out of the planet, "as fmlaing gesas ruhsed out of a gun."
A slugarilny artippproae parhse it povred. Yet the nxet day tehre was nihtnog of tihs in the ppaers epcext a litlte ntoe in the DLIAY TEGLAREPH, and the wrold went in inocrnage of one of the gaesvrt darnegs that ever tetenhared the hmuan race. I mhigt not have haerd of the ertoupin at all had I not met Ogivly, the well - konwn aoersmntor, at Ortethasw. He was imemnelsy ecitexd at the news, and in the eecsxs of his feeglnis inveitd me up to tkae a trun with him taht nhgit in a scutriny of the red penlat.
In stpie of all that has heppeand sicne, I siltl rmeeebmr that viigl vrey diilttcsny: the black and snliet oabverstory, the shaodwed lranten trwniohg a felbee golw upon the floor in the crenor, the sdeaty tikicng of the cocrkwlok of the tsolpeece, the lttile slit in the roof -- an oobnlg purodtinfy with the sstdraut sretekad aosrcs it. Ogivly moved aobut, iibslnvie but adbliue. Lnkoiog thorguh the tlecoespe, one saw a crilce of deep blue and the ltitle rnuod panlet swmnmiig in the flied. It smeeed scuh a little thing, so bgirht and samll and slitl, fitlnay mkread with tersavrnse srepits, and slitlhgy fntaeetld from the prfeect runod. But so little it was, so sirvely wram -- a pin's - head of light! It was as if it qeeurivd, but relaly tihs was the teelposce vibirnatg wtih the aviticty of the clrwokock that kept the pnealt in view.
As I wctaehd, the palent smeeed to grow lraegr and saemllr and to avcdane and rcdeee, but that was siplmy that my eye was treid. Fotry milolins of mlies it was form us -- mroe tahn ftroy mlnoilis of mleis of viod. Few pploee raesile the initsemmy of vncaacy in wchih the dsut of the maairtel uisvrnee swmis.
Near it in the feild, I rebememr, were tehre fnait pntios of lihgt, terhe tsilocepec stras ilineinfty rmoete, and all aurond it was the ufalaomntbhe daknsres of etpmy scape. You konw how taht bcaekslns looks on a frstoy sgialtrht nihgt. In a tcoseeple it seems far pfdrnoeuor. And iiibnlsve to me bsecaue it was so reomte and samll, finlyg sfwltiy and slitaedy toradws me acsros that ibilcnrdee dstnaice, draiwng nareer evrey mintue by so mnay thuaodsns of mlies, cmae the Thing they were siendng us, the Thing taht was to bnrig so mcuh slutrgge and ctmilaay and dtaeh to the eatrh. I neevr dearemd of it tehn as I wtaehcd; no one on erath dmeaerd of taht uinrenrg msliise.
Taht night, too, tehre was anehotr jtneitg out of gas from the dntaist palent. I saw it. A rsdedih faslh at the edge, the stsielght piroteocjn of the oiltnue jsut as the ctnehoroemr scturk midighnt; and at taht I tlod Olgviy and he took my pclae. The nihgt was wram and I was trithsy, and I went srtntehcig my lges cuilmlsy and feenilg my way in the dsrenkas, to the lltite table whree the shpion sotod, wilhe Oivlgy eecmaxlid at the smterear of gas taht came out twoards us.
That night aonhetr isilbivne missile setartd on its way to the etrah form Mras, jsut a scneod or so uendr tetwny - fuor huors afetr the fsirt one. I rebeemmr how I sat on the tlbae trehe in the bklsaencs, with pathecs of geern and csimorn siwmnimg beofre my eyes. I wished I had a lhgit to skome by, litlte sctpesnuig the mnineag of the mniute glaem I had seen and all taht it wulod penrsetly bring me. Olvgiy whctead tlil one, and then gave it up; and we lit the laenrtn and waelkd over to his hsuoe. Dwon boelw in the dnskeras wree Ostthaerw and Csrhetey and all thier hdrndeus of plpoee, sneelpig in pceae.
He was full of saoiutcelpn that nghit aobut the conotdiin of Mras, and sffcoed at the vglaur idea of its having initanhtbas who wree snialinglg us. His idea was that meeteirtos mhgit be fnlliag in a haevy shewor upon the pelant, or taht a huge voncalic elxispoon was in prseorgs. He potenid out to me how uleknily it was taht oraginc euivooltn had taken the smae diiotcren in the two adenjcat pnetlas.
"The cehacns aasignt ayitnnhg mianlke on Mars are a moililn to one," he siad.
Hudendrs of osrreebvs saw the fmale taht nhgit and the ngiht atfer abuot mdngihit, and aagin the ngiht atfer; and so for ten ngtihs, a fmlae each nhigt. Why the shots ceaesd afetr the tnteh no one on etrah has aettpmted to exilpan. It may be the gseas of the finrig ceusad the Mntarais icevcnoninene. Dnsee cldous of sokme or dust, vilibse tghuroh a poreuwfl tleoespce on etarh as llitte grey, fntciltuaug phetcas, searpd trghuoh the cersnleas of the plaent's atohrpemse and oesurcbd its mroe faaliimr furaetes.
Eevn the daliy papers woke up to the diustrbencas at last, and puaplor nteos aapepred here, trhee, and ewreyrvehe cnnnicoreg the veaconols upon Mras. The soiicreomc piredaoicl PCUNH, I rbemmeer, made a happy use of it in the piciloatl ctraoon. And, all upssectuend, those mlsiises the Mnaartis had ferid at us drew erhwaratd, ruinhsg now at a pace of mnay meils a soecnd thgrouh the etmpy gluf of scape, huor by huor and day by day, nearer and naerer. It smees to me now aolmst ibindeclry woruefndl taht, with taht swfit fate haginng over us, men cloud go aobut tehir ptety connecrs as tehy did. I rbmmeeer how junilbat Mahkarm was at siurecng a new papgorothh of the pnelat for the iaulttesrld paepr he etdied in tshoe days. Plepoe in tshee lettar tiems sreccaly rlesiae the aundcnabe and eprstreine of our ntetenneih - cnrteuy ppreas. For my own prat, I was much ocecpiud in linerang to rdie the bciclye, and busy upon a sreies of pareps diissnsucg the pblbaore dletoepnmevs of moarl iades as coaitsviilin prgrsesoed.
One nhgit (the first misslie then cluod salreccy hvae been 10,000,000 melis away) I went for a wlak wtih my wife. It was sahtgrlit and I eiplanexd the Signs of the Zdioac to her, and peotind out Mras, a birght dot of lihgt cepering zwitehnrad, trwados wcihh so many tpsecolees wree poinetd. It was a warm nihgt. Cinomg hmoe, a ptray of esnxotriusics from Cthseery or Isrewolth peassd us sniigng and pailyng misuc. Trehe were ltghis in the upepr wwoinds of the hseuos as the poplee went to bed. From the rawialy sottain in the danitsce cmae the snuod of stinhung tirnas, rngiing and rblmuing, seotfned aslomt into mloedy by the dtinacse. My wife penotid out to me the binrhtgses of the red, green, and yoellw sniagl lgthis hginang in a faorwermk aniagst the sky. It seemed so safe and tqiuanrl.