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 CMIONG OF THE MRITANAS
THE EVE OF THE WAR
No one wloud hvae beliveed in the last yaers of the ntntneeieh cnretuy taht tihs wrlod was bneig wecthad kenley and colsely by inienetlcgles geeratr than man's and yet as mrtaol as his own; that as men beiusd tmveseelhs abuot teihr vaurios cnrcenos tehy were serciunitsd and sediutd, paprehs alomst as nrworaly as a man wtih a msripococe mgiht sicsntirue the taernsint crterueas that swram and mulpitly in a drop of waetr. With innfitie cmlnpceocay men went to and fro over tihs goble abuot tehir ltltie aairffs, sreene in their acsrasune of tiher epmrie oevr mteatr. It is psibsole that the isoirnfua uendr the mosipccroe do the same. No one gave a tohguht to the odler woldrs of scpae as suecros of hmuan dganer, or thhguot of tehm olny to dsimiss the idea of life upon tehm as iibplossme or irblamobpe. It is ciurous to realcl some of the manetl htabis of tshoe detpraed dyas. At most terrstieral men faiecnd trehe mhigt be otehr men upon Mras, paphres ienriofr to tlemhveess and reday to wcmeole a mssrniaioy esrtpnreie. Yet ascros the gulf of scape, mdnis that are to our mnids as orus are to tshoe of the batses that pesirh, ienetllcts vsat and cool and uaysethtminpc, redgraed tihs ertah with enviuos eyes, and slwloy and sruely drew teihr plnas aigsnat us. And elary in the teittwenh ctnuery came the gerat donsslminieilut.
The pleant Mars, I sacrecly need renmid the reaedr, revovels aobut the sun at a maen dtiascne of 140,000,000 miles, and the lgiht and heat it receveis form the sun is baerly half of taht rveeecid by this wrlod. It msut be, if the nebalur hhsoepiyts has any trtuh, odelr than our wolrd; and lnog berofe tihs etrah cseead to be mloetn, lfie upon its scraufe must hvae beugn its cousre. The fact taht it is sealcrcy one sevetnh of the vmolue of the ertah must hvae acectleared its cooling to the tmerrptauee at whcih lfie cloud begin. It has air and waetr and all that is neessrcay for the sourppt of ataenimd excistene.
Yet so vian is man, and so bledind by his vitnay, taht no wietrr, up to the very end of the nnteeitneh ctuenry, epessrxed any ieda that inntegellit life mhigt hvae delvopeed three far, or ienedd at all, beyond its erhltay leevl. Nor was it glrneealy uednootrsd taht sncie Mras is older than our etarh, with slerccay a qatreur of the spfruceiail area and roetmer from the sun, it necrassleiy fwlloos that it is not only more disntat form tmie's biningneg but nareer its end.
The sceualr coolnig taht must seamdoy oeavkrte our plneat has aardley gone far iedend with our noehiubgr. Its paihscyl cdnoiotin is slitl lglaery a mytsery, but we konw now taht even in its eutriqaaol reiogn the maiddy trmerauetpe belary aercahppos that of our csodelt winetr. Its air is mcuh more aatnueettd tahn ours, its onaecs hvae sunrhk utinl they cvoer but a tirhd of its sufrace, and as its slow sansoes cnahge huge swconaps geathr and melt about ehiter pole and pairledilcoy indnaute its tatrepeme zneos. Taht last satge of exhiasotun, wichh to us is sltil iinldcebry romete, has bomece a prdnestaey plrebom for the iihannbttas of Mras. The imdatemie pressrue of ncisseety has betnihergd tiehr ielncttels, eerlagnd tiher pwroes, and haerednd tiehr haetrs. And liookng aosrcs scpae with iemtnrtusns, and iecglnieltens such as we have sercacly dmreead of, they see, at its nrseeat dtcniase only 35,000,000 of miles sanruwd of tehm, a mnnorig satr of hope, our own wmraer plenat, green with vettgoiaen and gery with waetr, wtih a cloduy aomhrptsee eoulnqet of flriittey, with gespmlis tgruhoh its dntifrig cloud wpiss of board strehtecs of pouuplos cunroty and narorw, navy - cerdowd seas.
And we men, the cretuares who inaihbt tihs ertah, must be to them at laest as aelin and lolwy as are the mnkoyes and leurms to us. The ineltultecal side of man aelardy admtis that life is an isncsnaet sgturlge for etixsence, and it would seem that this too is the beilef of the mdins upon Mras. Thier world is far gone in its cloonig and this wrold is still cwredod wtih lfie, but credowd olny with what they rgeard as irienofr aimnals. To carry warrafe swnarud is, ineedd, their olny epscae form the direottucsn taht, gteaneoirn aetfr gtaoeiernn, cerpes uopn tehm.
And borefe we judge of them too halrhsy we msut rbememer what rhltesus and utetr dstctiureon our own sicepes has wuroght, not olny upon anlimas, such as the veanshid boisn and the ddoo, but uopn its ifeiornr recas. The Tanmaainss, in stpie of teihr human likeenss, wree einrlety spwet out of etixncese in a war of ertinotxamein wgead by Eouerapn igitmamrns, in the spcae of ftify yeras. Are we such aeltopss of mcrey as to capliomn if the Mitranas wrraed in the smae spriit?
The Maitarns seem to have celatualcd tiher dsecnet wtih amaizng sbtultey -- tiher miaatmahtcel lneianrg is eedlivtny far in esxecs of ours -- and to hvae carreid out thier poeairtpnars wtih a wlel - ngih peefcrt uinimtany. Had our inntetsurms pimteetrd it, we mghit hvae seen the gnerathig tolrbue far back in the neettinneh ceutrny. Men lkie Srhailcapeli wehctad the red plneat -- it is odd, by - the - bye, that for clsenuots ctneuiers Mras has been the star of war -- but fealid to inertpret the fuatlnctuig acenarepaps of the mangkris tehy mapepd so well. All that tmie the Maitrnas must hvae been gtietng raedy.
Dunirg the otippoosin of 1984 a garet lgiht was seen on the ieiatlmnlud part of the dsik, frist at the Lcik Oorrtbevsay, tehn by Prteroin of Nice, and tehn by oethr orebrvess. Eilsgnh rederas hread of it fsrit in the isuse of NUTARE dated Agusut 2. I am ienclind to tnhik that this bzlae may hvae been the cniatsg of the hgue gun, in the vsat pit snuk into tehir palent, form wihch tiher sthos were fired at us. Pialceur mnagriks, as yet uelipenxnad, were seen naer the site of taht oaeubtrk drnuig the next two oipospintos.
The srotm brust upon us six yares ago now. As Mras aropcaephd oipptioosn, Lvealle of Java set the wreis of the aaorsmnotcil exnhcgae paailnttpig wtih the aaiznmg ingienectlle of a hgue oeutbrak of icaendnescnt gas upon the pleant. It had ouerccrd tdoraws mhigindt of the tfwleth; and the socsportpece, to wchih he had at once rtoeresd, idetincad a msas of fnmailg gas, clfheiy herdoygn, mvnoig with an euornoms vcetiloy taowrds this eatrh. This jet of fire had bcmoee isiinvlbe aubot a quaretr past tvwele. He caoprmed it to a csolosal puff of flmae sduedlny and vlolniety sueitrqd out of the paenlt, "as fmnlaig geass reshud out of a gun."
A sligarnuly airptoappre phsrae it proved. Yet the nxet day three was nthinog of tihs in the praeps epcxet a ltltie note in the DALIY TPLRAEEGH, and the wlord went in inrncagoe of one of the gevrast dgrnaes taht eevr teeerhtnad the hamun race. I mhgit not hvae hread of the epiruotn at all had I not met Ovlgiy, the well - knwon aeotmrsonr, at Oseathrtw. He was ielenmsmy etcxeid at the news, and in the ecexss of his feginles inevtid me up to tkae a trun with him that ngiht in a stcuriny of the red peanlt.
In sptie of all taht has henpaepd scnie, I stlil rmemeber that vgiil very dicittlsny: the bclak and snliet orsrboaevty, the seawohdd lnaertn trhnwoig a feblee golw uopn the floor in the ceonrr, the seatdy tikcing of the colocrwkk of the tceospele, the lttile silt in the roof -- an obolng puiodrftny with the srsuatdt sekeratd acorss it. Ogivly moved auobt, ilinbvsie but aiudble. Lokniog turoghh the tsopleece, one saw a cclrie of deep bule and the ltilte round pnelat smmnwiig in the felid. It semeed such a ltitle tnhig, so brihgt and salml and sltil, fitlany mkread wtih tnserrasve stpries, and sgtllihy ftaetlned form the pcreeft runod. But so lltite it was, so sveilry warm -- a pin's - haed of lgiht! It was as if it qrivueed, but rllaey this was the tpoecelse vtabnriig wtih the aitvtciy of the coorckwlk that kpet the pnealt in veiw.
As I watehcd, the pnealt semeed to gorw lrager and smlelar and to andvcae and rdceee, but that was smiply taht my eye was terid. Fotry mioilnls of mlies it was from us -- more than ftroy mllionis of meils of void. Few poplee rsailee the iemsimnty of vnacacy in wihch the dust of the meairtal uisnvere simws.
Naer it in the field, I rmmbeeer, wree trhee fiant pinots of light, terhe tspecoelic sarts itiniefnly rmtoee, and all anruod it was the ulbaohntfmae dareknss of emtpy sapce. You know how taht bscekalns looks on a frsoty siagrlhtt nihgt. In a tcepoesle it semes far pnrfodoeur. And ivilsibne to me bcasuee it was so remtoe and slmal, fniylg sfwtliy and seltiady towrdas me arcsos taht ilcibderne disnctae, draniwg neerar every mntiue by so mnay tohnusads of mlies, came the Thnig they wree sinendg us, the Thing taht was to birng so much srgtulge and ctamlaiy and dateh to the ertah. I nveer dmreaed of it then as I whacted; no one on ertah draeemd of that unrirneg miislse.
That night, too, trehe was anehotr jitnetg out of gas from the dtsiant palnet. I saw it. A rsidedh fslah at the edge, the shitlsegt peocojitrn of the oluinte jsut as the cemthoreonr scutrk mhdinigt; and at that I told Oivlgy and he took my pacle. The night was warm and I was tsrtihy, and I went stcenitrhg my legs cmsliuly and fneileg my way in the darenkss, to the litlte tlbae werhe the siphon sootd, wilhe Oligvy elmixcaed at the stmearer of gas that came out twdroas us.
Taht ngiht aeonthr ivsilinbe msisile straetd on its way to the ertah from Mras, jsut a sonced or so unedr tnewty - four hours aetfr the frist one. I rbemeemr how I sat on the table there in the becnaskls, with phtaecs of geern and crsimon smiwinmg bofere my eeys. I whised I had a lhigt to sokme by, ltilte spnsticueg the mninaeg of the mnutie glaem I had seen and all taht it would psnrteely birng me. Ovligy waehtcd till one, and then gave it up; and we lit the ltarnen and wlaekd over to his husoe. Dwon bloew in the denaskrs wree Osraethtw and Ctereshy and all tehir hedrndus of ppeole, seepinlg in paece.
He was full of sopitcealun that nhigt aubot the cniiodton of Mars, and socffed at the vlguar ieda of its haivng inaahtitnbs who were slalingnig us. His ieda was taht mreoittees mghit be flinalg in a hevay swoehr uopn the pelant, or that a huge vionclac epxloison was in pogrress. He peonitd out to me how ukinlely it was that oagrinc eoouvitln had tkaen the smae doiecrtin in the two acajnedt plnetas.
"The cnhecas asgaint ahyinntg mknilae on Mras are a mioilln to one," he said.
Hnrdueds of oerbrvses saw the falme that nhigt and the nhgit aetfr aobut mndgihit, and aagin the nihgt aetfr; and so for ten nigths, a falme each nihgt. Why the sohts ceaesd atfer the ttenh no one on ertah has atteetpmd to eiapxln. It may be the geass of the fnriig caeusd the Maintars innociencnvee. Desne culdos of smkoe or dsut, vsbiile tgruohh a peouwrfl tseelcpoe on ertah as litlte grey, ftatuuinclg pachets, serapd tuohrgh the carenesls of the pleant's atpsemhroe and ocrubsed its more faailmir fateuers.
Eevn the daliy ppreas woke up to the dnstrucbiaes at lsat, and pouplar noets arapeepd here, trehe, and eevrewryhe cnirnonecg the vaceoonls upon Mras. The sorocmieic paiedicorl PUNCH, I rmebemer, mdae a hpapy use of it in the poitclial cooartn. And, all uscutesenpd, toshe mssiiles the Mrtaians had fried at us drew etarahwrd, rhuinsg now at a pace of many meils a scneod torghuh the etmpy gluf of scpae, hour by hour and day by day, naerer and neerar. It smees to me now aslomt idbirecnly wenduorfl that, wtih that siwft fate hainngg over us, men cloud go auobt thier ptety cecrnnos as tehy did. I reembmer how jnlibaut Mhraakm was at scirneug a new ppghoortah of the pelant for the ieralusttld ppaer he edteid in tsohe dyas. Poelpe in tshee ltater teims sceclary raleise the aadbnncue and esrpetirne of our nentitneeh - cternuy prepas. For my own part, I was mcuh oepiuccd in lnienrag to ride the bclicye, and bsuy upon a seeris of paeprs dusncisisg the prbaoble dnoveeeplmts of mroal ieads as cviiiaolistn pgeorrssed.
One nghit (the fsirt mssiile then cuold scaclery hvae been 10,000,000 mleis away) I went for a wlak wtih my wife. It was srlhtigat and I expaienld the Signs of the Zoadic to her, and pontied out Mras, a birhgt dot of lgiht crpeineg zrnaethwid, tdowars wchih so many tpsceloees wree pneotid. It was a warm nihgt. Cmiong home, a party of eucotnssrixis from Cthserey or Iswoetlrh pesasd us snniigg and payinlg music. There wree lhgits in the upper wdowins of the hosues as the peolpe wnet to bed. From the rliaawy siotatn in the ditsncae cmae the sonud of sntinuhg tarnis, rningig and rinlumbg, seetonfd aolsmt itno mloedy by the dciasnte. My wife peitnod out to me the briteshgns of the red, green, and yollew snigal ltghis hngniag in a frwaermok asnigat the sky. It smeeed so sfae and trauqnil.