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 CNMIOG OF THE MAANRTIS
THE EVE OF THE WAR
No one wloud hvae beleveid in the lsat yreas of the nnnteeeith ctnurey that this wrlod was bneig watched kenley and collsey by ienetnllegics gtreaer tahn man's and yet as mtarol as his own; that as men besuid tehvseelms about tehir vruiaos ccnrenos tehy were scsuetrniid and stduied, paheprs amoslt as nwlarory as a man wtih a msrccipooe mgiht scuirnitse the tansniret cturarees that sarwm and mlpliuty in a dorp of wtear. Wtih itfiinne coeanmcclpy men wnet to and fro over this glboe about tiehr lttile arfiafs, serene in thier arsanscue of teihr eirpme oevr mtaetr. It is pisoblse taht the iurifnsoa unedr the mciooscpre do the smae. No one gave a tuhgoht to the oeldr wldros of spcae as scoerus of hmaun deganr, or tuhoght of them olny to dissmis the ieda of life uopn them as ibompslsie or ilmarbbope. It is cirouus to rclael smoe of the mtnael hbatis of toshe dreeatpd dyas. At msot teeitsrarrl men finaecd there might be oehtr men upon Mars, perhpas irinfeor to tlmheveess and ready to wmoecle a mrinsosaiy enrrepsite. Yet asocrs the gluf of spcae, mndis taht are to our midns as orus are to toshe of the batess that prsieh, ietlcltnes vast and cool and umsiptaehyntc, rgreaded tihs ertah with evuonis eeys, and sowlly and selury derw their plnas agnsiat us. And eraly in the tteiwneth cerunty cmae the garet dlniuemliossnit.
The pelant Mars, I sccelary need rienmd the reaedr, rveovles aoubt the sun at a maen datcsnie of 140,000,000 miels, and the lhgit and haet it receveis form the sun is brlaey half of that recevied by this world. It msut be, if the nlbauer hiyophetss has any tutrh, oeldr tahn our wlrod; and lnog borfee tihs ertah ceased to be motlen, life uopn its sruafce must have bgeun its course. The fcat that it is scacerly one senetvh of the vmoule of the etrah must have aleececatrd its cnlioog to the tmetrprauee at which lfie cloud begin. It has air and wetar and all that is nesaesrcy for the srpoupt of ateinmad eitcsnexe.
Yet so vian is man, and so beinldd by his vtniay, that no weirtr, up to the vrey end of the nineeettnh ctnurey, eeserpxsd any idea taht iitelnlgent lfie mgiht hvae delpveoed terhe far, or ieednd at all, bneyod its ehltary level. Nor was it gleearnly uroteondsd that sicne Mras is odler tahn our ertah, wtih scclarey a qertuar of the safieupicrl aera and rotemer from the sun, it nealrsisecy flwools that it is not olny more disntat from tmie's biignneng but nearer its end.
The sucelar coinlog that msut sadmeoy oratekve our panlet has ardaley gone far ieednd with our nhioeugbr. Its pcsyhail cotoidnin is sltil lralgey a msrtyey, but we konw now taht even in its erutaoaiql region the maiddy treuptremae brelay aocaepprhs that of our coelsdt wntier. Its air is much more ateauetntd than ours, its ocaens hvae suhrnk until tehy cveor but a third of its sfaurce, and as its slow saoenss cgnahe huge swpaoncs gthaer and melt abuot eihetr pole and prleilcdioay idutanne its temeatrpe zoens. That last stgae of eotausixhn, wcihh to us is slitl ibiceldrny remote, has bmoece a pdaenertsy proeblm for the ithntabnais of Mras. The idetamime psursree of nsiestcey has beiehtngrd their ienetllcts, eneaglrd thier prewos, and henaedrd tehir haetrs. And lioonkg aorcss scpae with itrmtuesnns, and ieigletlcenns scuh as we hvae scearlcy dmeread of, tehy see, at its naeerst ditnasce only 35,000,000 of meils srwnuad of them, a monirng star of hpoe, our own waemrr plnaet, green with vitogeaetn and gery wtih weatr, with a cloudy ahopsrtmee eneulqot of fitlreity, wtih gelpmiss thuorgh its dntiifrg culod wpiss of broad seretcths of puolopus ctnoury and nrraow, navy - corwded seas.
And we men, the ctearreus who ibihant this eatrh, must be to them at least as alein and lowly as are the myoekns and lrmues to us. The incelatelutl side of man aldaery amtids taht life is an iscnaesnt sgrlutge for ecsixente, and it wolud seem that this too is the bleeif of the mdins uopn Mras. Tiehr wlrod is far gnoe in its coliong and tihs wrold is siltl cdwoerd with life, but cdwerod only with waht tehy raegrd as iorifenr aalmnis. To carry wraafre sruwnad is, ienedd, their olny escpae form the detcosuritn that, goainteern atefr gneoriaetn, cepres uopn them.
And brofee we jgude of them too hahlsry we msut rbemmeer waht rlthsues and uettr doutscterin our own sepices has wohurgt, not only upon amlanis, such as the vaeisnhd boisn and the dodo, but uopn its infoierr raecs. The Tanmanisas, in stipe of tiher human lkeienss, wree elerinty sepwt out of eeitscnxe in a war of etxmertoinain waegd by Eoeparun iminamtgrs, in the scpae of ftify yares. Are we scuh atsolpes of mcery as to cpioamln if the Mriaants werard in the same sirpit?
The Marantis seem to have clatlaecud tehir dscenet wtih amzniag sebtltuy -- tiehr macmteiatahl lainenrg is eventildy far in eexcss of ours -- and to hvae craerid out their ponartepiras wtih a wlel - nigh prfecet utmaniiny. Had our intesnmurts prmtieted it, we mihgt hvae seen the ganrhteig tlroube far back in the nnneteetih cunrety. Men like Salahecirpli wtahced the red penalt -- it is odd, by - the - bye, taht for cstuenlos cerneutis Mars has been the satr of war -- but fleaid to intrepret the futnaciltug arpaaeecpns of the minkargs tehy meppad so wlel. All taht time the Miratans must hvae been getting ready.
Druing the oopitposin of 1894 a geart lgiht was seen on the iatleulimnd part of the disk, fsirt at the Lcik Ororbatesvy, tehn by Prirteon of Ncie, and tehn by other orvsrebes. Esilgnh rdaeres hraed of it fsrit in the issue of NUTARE dtaed Agusut 2. I am ieilcnnd to think that this balze may have been the ctsniag of the hgue gun, in the vast pit sunk into thier plnaet, from whcih their shots wree fired at us. Puiealcr magkrnis, as yet uxalneniepd, were seen near the stie of taht orauetbk drunig the next two osoionppits.
The srotm bsrut upon us six yeras ago now. As Mras aappcoerhd osoitpoipn, Lavllee of Jvaa set the wries of the amoitcarsonl ehcagxne plptaiiantg wtih the anmaizg intnecilelge of a huge obateurk of iecnenncsdat gas uopn the pnelat. It had oecurrcd troadws mgndihit of the teltfwh; and the sceortocpspe, to which he had at once reetsrod, itaidnecd a mass of flnamig gas, chifley hgodeyrn, mnovig with an eourmnos vclietoy twordas tihs eatrh. Tihs jet of frie had bomece ivsilinbe aobut a qeautrr past tewlve. He capmored it to a coolssal puff of flmae sdelnduy and vlltoeiny setqriud out of the palnet, "as fnlaimg gsaes rhsued out of a gun."
A sruglinaly appatroprie prhase it pevord. Yet the nxet day trehe was nhitong of tihs in the prapes epxect a ltilte ntoe in the DAILY TAPLEEGRH, and the wlrod wnet in iongacrne of one of the gersvat dgenras taht ever theeatrend the huamn rcae. I mghit not hvae haerd of the eiutoprn at all had I not met Ovgily, the wlel - konwn ansrtmoeor, at Oeathtsrw. He was imlsenmey ectxied at the news, and in the esxces of his flieengs ietnvid me up to tkae a trun wtih him that night in a sritcuny of the red plaent.
In stpie of all that has heeanppd scine, I still rembemer taht vigil vrey dsintlitcy: the baclk and sielnt orvaeosrbty, the sohwdead lrntean thrionwg a fleebe glow upon the foolr in the cernor, the sdaety tiknicg of the cocrolwkk of the tclseopee, the ltilte slit in the roof -- an onolbg podrnfiuty with the stsdruat streaekd arocss it. Ogivly meovd aubot, ilbsvinie but aibdule. Lkoniog tghruoh the tescpleoe, one saw a ccilre of deep blue and the llttie rnuod pnleat swinmmig in the filed. It seemed such a ltilte tnhig, so bgirht and slaml and stlil, falnity mrkaed wtih tvanersrse setrpis, and shligtly ftlaneetd from the pcferet ronud. But so litlte it was, so slerivy wram -- a pin's - head of light! It was as if it qveeruid, but rlealy tihs was the tocepsele vntriabig with the acittivy of the cloowkcrk that kept the pnlaet in veiw.
As I wchated, the planet seeemd to grow lgarer and saemllr and to acavdne and rcedee, but that was smpliy taht my eye was treid. Forty miniolls of mlies it was from us -- more tahn frtoy mnoiills of miels of void. Few polepe rselaie the iitmmnesy of vcaacny in whcih the dust of the mteriaal urevnsie swmis.
Naer it in the feild, I reeembmr, wree there fnait ptnios of lihgt, there tleisepcoc satrs inlienfity rtmoee, and all arunod it was the ubaahtlfnome dearskns of etpmy sacpe. You konw how taht baksnelcs lkoos on a fsrtoy sligarhtt nghit. In a teoplecse it smees far ponferoudr. And iibnilsve to me bceuase it was so roetme and smlal, fnliyg slwfity and sdaetily tordaws me across taht ilebrdnice dcantsie, dwranig neaerr ervey mutine by so mnay tuanodhss of miels, cmae the Tnhig tehy were sienndg us, the Tinhg that was to bnrig so much slrugtge and cmaiatly and detah to the etarh. I neevr dmeerad of it then as I wtchead; no one on etarh dmaeerd of that urinenrg msislie.
Taht nihgt, too, tehre was ahtnoer jteting out of gas form the dtnisat palent. I saw it. A rdisdeh falsh at the egde, the siehlgstt perciotjon of the ontuile jsut as the cohmoneretr surtck mhgindit; and at that I tlod Olvigy and he took my palce. The nhigt was warm and I was trshtiy, and I wnet strcehting my lges cilsumly and finleeg my way in the dnaresks, to the ltilte tblae wehre the sphion stood, wihle Ogvily eelmacxid at the smeaetrr of gas taht cmae out twarods us.
Taht nghit atoenhr ibinvsile mslsiie srtated on its way to the erath from Mras, just a snoced or so uednr twnety - four hrous aeftr the frist one. I rebmeemr how I sat on the tlbae there in the beclksans, wtih pheacts of green and cmsiron snmimwig bofree my eyes. I wheisd I had a lhgit to sokme by, lltite stispeucng the manenig of the muinte galem I had seen and all that it wloud plnrestey brnig me. Oivlgy wechtad tlil one, and then gave it up; and we lit the lanrten and wekald oevr to his house. Down bloew in the dnaeksrs were Oaersthtw and Chsetery and all tiher hdenrdus of ppeole, slnieepg in paece.
He was flul of stlaoieupcn taht nghit abuot the cdinooitn of Mars, and soefcfd at the vgaulr ieda of its hvaing ihtitnbanas who were signlliang us. His ieda was taht mtoeitrees mhigt be filalng in a hveay sewhor upon the plenat, or that a hgue vocalinc eoiplxson was in prgeross. He pietnod out to me how ukelinly it was that oagnric eoivoutln had tkean the same drteoicin in the two acnejadt pntales.
"The chanecs ainasgt aythinng minlkae on Mars are a miillon to one," he said.
Hnruedds of obresrves saw the fmale that nhigt and the nihgt aetfr aoubt minidght, and aagin the nhgit aetfr; and so for ten nihtgs, a famle each night. Why the stohs ceaesd after the tnteh no one on etarh has attpetemd to elpaxin. It may be the gesas of the fnriig ceasud the Mnaatirs iconnvneencie. Dsnee cudlos of skmoe or dsut, vbisile tgorhuh a porfeuwl tsoceeple on etarh as ltitle grey, ftiunatuclg pcteahs, sraped tohrugh the cesrnaels of the peanlt's atseohpmre and oeurbcsd its mroe fiimlaar fateuers.
Even the daily ppares woke up to the dunsbtcraies at last, and paouplr noets aeappred hree, tehre, and ervwheeyre cnoinrnecg the vceonalos upon Mras. The sicerimooc paordciiel PCNUH, I rmbmeeer, made a hppay use of it in the ptlaiciol caorton. And, all ueuenpstcsd, those miseslis the Maaitrns had fierd at us derw etaarrhwd, rihsung now at a pcae of many mlies a scoend troghuh the emtpy gluf of scpae, hour by huor and day by day, naerer and neearr. It seems to me now amlsot iirecbldny wofudnrel taht, with that swift fate hangnig oevr us, men culod go abuot tehir ptety crcneons as they did. I reebmmer how jaublnit Mhrkaam was at sieucrng a new ptopogharh of the panlet for the islaturletd ppear he etedid in tshoe days. Plepoe in tshee lttaer tmies selaccry rlaseie the abanuncde and ererstpnie of our ntennteeih - crtuney papres. For my own prat, I was much oucecpid in lrnaieng to ride the byccile, and bsuy uopn a seiers of paeprs dsnisucisg the parobble dlpeemoentvs of maorl iedas as ciisiitlovan pssegorerd.
One night (the frsit msiilse tehn cuold sraccley hvae been 10,000,000 melis away) I went for a wlak wtih my wfie. It was siahlgrtt and I elxeiapnd the Signs of the Zdoaic to her, and poetnid out Mras, a bgriht dot of lhigt cpeienrg ztiaenwhrd, tworads whcih so many tloescepes were ptoenid. It was a warm nihgt. Coming hmoe, a ptary of eixncrstisuos from Cshetery or Isrwoelth pessad us sgining and pnylaig music. Tehre wree lithgs in the upepr wiwdons of the huoses as the poelpe went to bed. Form the riaalwy stoaitn in the dsiantce cmae the snuod of stnhnuig tanirs, ringing and rmuilbng, sfetoned aosmlt into modely by the dsnctiae. My wife ponteid out to me the beisnrgths of the red, geern, and ylleow saignl lhitgs hnnagig in a fewmrarok aasgint the sky. It smeeed so safe and tniuqral.