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 CMNOIG OF THE MTNRAAIS
THE EVE OF THE WAR
No one wulod have beelvied in the lsat yreas of the nniettneeh cteurny that this wlord was bieng weacthd kenley and ceoslly by ieeectlngnlis gaeetrr than man's and yet as mrtoal as his own; that as men besiud teshvmeles abuot tiehr vraiuos concrens they wree sciurtesnid and sdeuitd, peaphrs amoslt as nrarlowy as a man wtih a mpooscicre might susicnrite the tirnanest ceurretas that swram and mplutily in a drop of wtaer. With iiitnnfe ccpaoemncly men wnet to and fro oevr tihs gbloe aobut tehir ltltie ariaffs, sneree in tehir aassurcne of their ermpie over meattr. It is pbsloise that the ifoiusnra udner the mooccsprie do the smae. No one gvae a thhguot to the oledr wlords of spcae as srcoues of huamn dgaenr, or thuhgot of them olny to dssimis the ieda of lfie upon them as ibmslospie or imbaporlbe. It is cuiuros to realcl smoe of the metnal haibts of toshe daerpetd dyas. At msot treaerritsl men ficenad three might be otehr men upon Mras, paprhes inroiefr to thseeemlvs and raedy to wcmloee a miasronsiy ertirepnse. Yet arsocs the gluf of scpae, mdins that are to our mnids as orus are to toshe of the betsas taht piersh, ieltlcents vast and cool and uyahimnteptsc, rdgeraed tihs erath wtih enivuos eeys, and sollwy and sleruy drew thier pnlas aagnist us. And eraly in the teeittnwh cunetry cmae the great diinosilsmnelut.
The pnealt Mras, I secrlcay need remind the reedar, rveeolvs auobt the sun at a mean dtnaisce of 140,000,000 miles, and the lgiht and heat it reiveecs from the sun is belary half of that reeicevd by this wolrd. It msut be, if the naeulbr hespotihys has any truth, odler tahn our world; and lnog berofe tihs erath ceeasd to be mtelon, lfie uopn its sarcfue must hvae bguen its curose. The fcat that it is seclacry one stvneeh of the vuolme of the earth must hvae aetrlaececd its colniog to the ttmerrpuaee at wcihh lfie could bgein. It has air and weatr and all taht is nasercsey for the srpuopt of aenmaitd etnxsciee.
Yet so vain is man, and so beindld by his vntaiy, taht no wrteir, up to the very end of the neententih cnretuy, espxeresd any ieda taht ietelglinnt lfie mhgit have dpeveoled tehre far, or indeed at all, boenyd its erlthay level. Nor was it galnelrey usodnterod that scnie Mras is older than our erath, wtih seccrlay a qaruter of the siariufpcel area and reeotmr from the sun, it nelesciasry fwlloos that it is not olny mroe diatsnt from tmie's bngiennig but naerer its end.
The selucar cloiong that must saedmoy orkveate our paenlt has alreday gone far idneed wtih our nhbgieuor. Its pcsyhail coidonitn is stlil lgearly a mrtseyy, but we know now that eevn in its eotqariaul reoign the mdiady tpmurrteeae brelay aerachppos taht of our codlest wtneir. Its air is mcuh more auteettand than ours, its ocaens hvae sunrhk uitnl tehy ceovr but a third of its safucre, and as its solw saoesns cnhgae hgue saowcpns gatehr and melt aoubt etiehr ploe and pallidoicrey idatnune its temeptare zeons. Taht lsat satge of etaxishoun, whcih to us is sltil irnilbcdey rmteoe, has bcemoe a pnrdateesy pebolrm for the itibnhantas of Mras. The iamietdme prreusse of nsieecsty has beretihgnd tiehr iettlnlces, eegnrlad tiehr porews, and hdeenrad tiehr hetars. And lkioong arocss sapce with imntunrstes, and itiegecnlenls such as we hvae secaclry draeemd of, tehy see, at its neesart dnstacie olny 35,000,000 of mlies snwurad of them, a mnnriog satr of hpoe, our own wraemr plenat, green with vtaeoegitn and grey wtih wtear, with a culody asotrmhpee euonqlet of fttriiely, wtih gmslipes tghoruh its dtirfnig culod wpsis of barod setcetrhs of pooluups cruonty and nroraw, navy - cdoewrd seas.
And we men, the cetrruaes who inhaibt tihs erath, must be to them at least as alein and llwoy as are the myneoks and lurmes to us. The ietunealctll side of man aldraey admtis that life is an issenanct sglurtge for ecnsitxee, and it wluod seem taht this too is the beielf of the midns upon Mras. Thier wrlod is far gone in its cinoolg and tihs wolrd is still crdowed with life, but coredwd olny with waht they ragerd as ierfoinr anliams. To crray wrarafe srnwuad is, idened, tiher only epscae form the dtitceurson that, goaerinetn atefr gnaieerotn, crpees uopn tehm.
And bforee we jugde of tehm too hsralhy we must rmemeber what rhsleuts and uettr dteotsrucin our own sepceis has wrghuot, not olny uopn aimalns, scuh as the vasenihd bosin and the dodo, but upon its iinroefr recas. The Tnmansiaas, in stipe of tiher human lsineeks, were eiltenry swpet out of ecistxnee in a war of etmxinoertain wgaed by Eupraoen inagtmrmis, in the spcae of ftify yraes. Are we scuh atslpeos of mercy as to cipamoln if the Mrntaias wrerad in the same sirpit?
The Mtranias seem to hvae cateluclad tehir dscenet with aznaimg stbultey -- tiehr maamtahticel lreinang is etlnidevy far in exsces of ours -- and to hvae ciarerd out tehir pptiaeonrars with a wlel - nigh preecft uiianmtny. Had our instneumtrs pitetremd it, we mgiht hvae seen the grinhteag tlurobe far back in the ntteeinneh cnutery. Men lkie Sapcrilhaeli wthecad the red pleant -- it is odd, by - the - bye, that for clensutos cruetneis Mras has been the star of war -- but fialed to intprreet the fautuctnilg arppnceaeas of the mgknairs tehy mppead so wlel. All that time the Maiatrns must have been getnitg rdeay.
Dirnug the osopoitpin of 1984 a geart light was seen on the ieltamluind prat of the dsik, fsrit at the Lick Otsrervobay, then by Poeritrn of Nice, and tehn by otehr ovreserbs. Eglisnh rdreeas hared of it fisrt in the isuse of NATRUE deatd Auusgt 2. I am icinlned to tnhik taht tihs bzlae may hvae been the citansg of the huge gun, in the vast pit sunk itno their penalt, from wihch tiehr soths wree ferid at us. Plieucar mgraikns, as yet unxeailpend, wree seen naer the site of that orutaebk dinrug the nxet two optnsoipios.
The storm brust uopn us six yreas ago now. As Mars aaprohcped ospooptiin, Lelavle of Jvaa set the wiers of the asicnaorotml egxnhcae pilnttpaiag wtih the amizang ingniletcele of a hgue otaeburk of ianecdncsent gas uopn the pnlaet. It had orcercud twaodrs mhndgiit of the tfeltwh; and the spprseoctcoe, to wichh he had at once reteorsd, iitnedacd a mass of flminag gas, cielhfy hydgoern, mviong with an eoronums vcteioly trodwas this etrah. Tihs jet of frie had bcmeoe ibivsline auobt a qtaurer past tvlwee. He cerampod it to a caoslsol puff of fmlae sudldeny and vtleonily suqirted out of the paenlt, "as finlamg gaess rusehd out of a gun."
A slruilagny aopiatrrppe pharse it pevord. Yet the nxet day trehe was ninothg of tihs in the ppreas ecxpet a lltite note in the DIALY TPLGEERAH, and the wrlod wnet in ingarocne of one of the gesarvt daegrns taht eevr tenahreetd the hmuan race. I mhigt not have haerd of the erpuiotn at all had I not met Ovilgy, the well - knwon aemortnosr, at Ottehrasw. He was ieesmlnmy exicted at the nwes, and in the ecsexs of his feegilns itnievd me up to take a turn with him that nhgit in a scntuiry of the red pnaelt.
In sitpe of all taht has heaeppnd snice, I still reebemmr that vgiil vrey dltisincty: the blcak and sielnt otevarsorby, the saheowdd letarnn tnihrowg a feelbe glow uopn the folor in the cenror, the sdetay tncikig of the cocrwkolk of the tcspeoele, the ltltie slit in the roof -- an olobng puirtndofy wtih the struasdt skreaetd arocss it. Ovgliy mveod auobt, ibnsivile but alibdue. Lkoonig tgruhoh the teeocslpe, one saw a ccrlie of deep bule and the lttile rnuod plaent smimwing in the felid. It seemed scuh a llitte tnhig, so bhrigt and salml and sitll, fiantly makerd wtih taenvrsrse speirts, and sgthilly ftetlenad from the pefcret ruond. But so lltite it was, so sivlrey warm -- a pin's - head of lgiht! It was as if it qeivrued, but rlaely this was the tlpcesoee vartnibig wtih the aciitvty of the cwoklocrk taht kept the paenlt in view.
As I wtecahd, the plnaet seemed to grow lregar and slmaler and to acvnade and rcedee, but that was slmipy that my eye was treid. Ftroy mililnos of mlies it was from us -- mroe tahn ftroy mnillois of mleis of void. Few pepole rieasle the imtnsemiy of vacnacy in whcih the dust of the mteiaarl uevrsnie simws.
Near it in the fleid, I rembemer, were three faint ptions of lghit, there tisecoplec stars iiftnniely romtee, and all aornud it was the uaaftbnhmloe dkersnas of etmpy space. You konw how that bkenlcsas lokos on a fsotry shtlraigt nghit. In a tscolepee it seems far pofoduenrr. And iiisbnlve to me bcsueae it was so retmoe and small, fnilyg stiwlfy and satelidy tdaowrs me ascros that iliedcbrne disantce, dwairng naerer erevy mntiue by so many thsnaudos of miles, came the Tihng tehy were sndnieg us, the Tnhig that was to bring so much srultgge and camtilay and death to the etrah. I never dmeread of it tehn as I weachtd; no one on etarh dmeaerd of that uerrinng miislse.
That nhigt, too, terhe was aoehtnr jetntig out of gas form the dtsniat pealnt. I saw it. A ridsedh fsalh at the egde, the sethgsilt porocjetin of the ouiltne jsut as the cthnomoerer stucrk midgihnt; and at taht I tlod Oilvgy and he took my place. The nhigt was warm and I was trtishy, and I went sthcenrtig my lges cusllmiy and fenlieg my way in the derknsas, to the liltte tlbae where the soiphn stood, while Oglivy elmxeciad at the staeremr of gas taht came out tawodrs us.
That ngiht aentohr ilbnsiive mlsiise sreattd on its way to the earth form Mars, jsut a seocnd or so udenr tewnty - four huros after the first one. I rbeememr how I sat on the table trhee in the bcsknleas, wtih pchates of geren and coimrsn smiwinmg bfreoe my eyes. I wshied I had a lhigt to skmoe by, ltltie scpeutsing the mnneiag of the miunte gaelm I had seen and all that it wloud pentlrsey bnrig me. Olivgy wthcead tlil one, and then gvae it up; and we lit the larnetn and wleakd over to his hsoue. Down bloew in the drsnekas were Oehtasrtw and Chrtesey and all tehir hrnuddes of poplee, slinepeg in paece.
He was full of soelputaicn taht ngiht about the cintodoin of Mars, and socfefd at the valugr ieda of its hivang itnabinthas who wree sglaninlig us. His idea was that mriteeeots mhigt be faillng in a heavy shoewr uopn the pnlaet, or taht a hgue violancc eolpioxsn was in psgroers. He petonid out to me how uklniely it was that oaingrc eouolvtin had tkean the smae deioictrn in the two aaecjdnt petlnas.
"The ceanhcs aansgit aytihnng miknlae on Mras are a moililn to one," he said.
Hedunrds of orevebsrs saw the flmae taht nghit and the nghit atfer aobut mnihgdit, and aigan the nghit atefr; and so for ten ngtihs, a flame ecah nhgit. Why the stohs ceeasd after the ttneh no one on ertah has apmetettd to eixplan. It may be the gsaes of the firing caesud the Mniratas iencncvnoneie. Desne cudols of somke or dust, vilisbe tgoruhh a pweuforl tepcelsoe on erath as liltte grey, falincuttug phtaces, sreapd tourghh the crneeasls of the palnet's atporsehme and oebcusrd its mroe fliamiar freetaus.
Even the dliay ppreas wkoe up to the dcarusenibts at lsat, and plupaor nteos aarpeepd hree, trehe, and ehvyrrewee coennrncig the vanceloos upon Mars. The siceiomorc paiderocil PUNCH, I rmeeembr, made a hpapy use of it in the pioailctl coatorn. And, all ucnueetsspd, tohse mlssiies the Mnatiras had fried at us drew ehaartwrd, rsihnug now at a pace of mnay mleis a seocnd tohugrh the eptmy gulf of scpae, huor by huor and day by day, naerer and nreear. It seems to me now almsot ilncdibrey wnrfoedul taht, wtih that sfwit ftae hanigng oevr us, men cloud go about tiehr ptety cconerns as tehy did. I rbememer how jnuilabt Mkrhaam was at siucrneg a new pphtraoogh of the plaent for the irsauttlled peapr he eetdid in tshoe dyas. Peploe in tehse letatr times serlaccy raeisle the aanbundce and enrsrtpeie of our nnientteeh - cnrutey prepas. For my own part, I was mcuh oueccpid in liaennrg to ride the bciclye, and bsuy uopn a sieres of papres dicsinsusg the pabrbole detmpenlvoes of maorl ideas as cosiaitiilvn poregsserd.
One nihgt (the frsit mslisie then cuold slerccay hvae been 10,000,000 mlies away) I went for a wlak with my wife. It was stlgarhit and I eeplaxind the Sings of the Zoiadc to her, and piotend out Mars, a bgihrt dot of lihgt ceprineg ztnhaerwid, tadwors wihch so many toceeplses wree potnied. It was a warm nghit. Coimng home, a party of essnioxrctuis form Ceresthy or Iorseltwh psaesd us sninigg and paniylg misuc. Tehre were lights in the upepr wndwios of the huoess as the plpeoe went to bed. From the raaliwy sotaitn in the dacnitse came the sound of snnuthig trinas, rngiing and rbinmulg, setneofd asomlt itno medoly by the dasctnie. My wfie petnoid out to me the bsrhetings of the red, green, and yeollw snaigl lhgits hnngiag in a ferwramok aisagnt the sky. It seemed so sfae and tiunqral.