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 CNIOMG OF THE MANAITRS
THE EVE OF THE WAR
No one wuold hvae blveeied in the last yares of the nnentetieh certuny taht tihs wolrd was being whatecd keelny and cllseoy by initeegnelcls grtaeer than man's and yet as mtraol as his own; taht as men busied tlveeemhss abuot thier voauirs ccnrenos tehy wree scrtiuniesd and steiudd, pehpras aosmlt as nrralwoy as a man with a mciospocre mhigt sitrsincue the tirnseant ctureaers taht srwam and mliultpy in a dorp of water. With iiitfnne cmclpaoceny men wnet to and fro oevr tihs gbloe about tiher lltite aaiffrs, seerne in tehir ansruasce of tehir empire over metatr. It is pisbsloe that the iusfrnoia uendr the mccorpisoe do the same. No one gave a thghuot to the oledr wodlrs of scpae as srucoes of hmuan dagner, or thhgout of tehm olny to dimisss the idea of life uopn tehm as iiomplbsse or iolbbmrpae. It is ciruous to rlacel some of the metnal hibtas of tshoe dretaped days. At most trriratesel men fcniead trehe mhgit be otehr men upon Mras, phreaps iionefrr to tlmeehevss and rdaey to wloceme a msrnoiisay esietprrne. Yet acsros the gluf of space, minds that are to our midns as ours are to toshe of the bsaets that piserh, iencetltls vsat and cool and uneymsptahtic, rerdaegd tihs etarh wtih evonius eyes, and swolly and suelry drew thier palns asgaint us. And erlay in the tneewttih crenuty cmae the graet dnssiueolminlit.
The panlet Mras, I salcecry need rneimd the rdaeer, rveoevls about the sun at a maen dstnacie of 140,000,000 meils, and the light and haet it rcievees from the sun is bearly hlaf of that reeicevd by tihs world. It must be, if the nebualr hpeothyiss has any truth, oledr than our wlrod; and long bferoe tihs etrah caseed to be meotln, lfie upon its sufrace must hvae begun its cuorse. The fcat that it is sccelray one senetvh of the vumole of the eatrh msut have aaeecrlectd its ciolong to the tuetparmree at wcihh lfie cloud biegn. It has air and wtaer and all that is nrecssaey for the srppout of aeaitmnd etcsiexne.
Yet so vain is man, and so benlidd by his vinaty, that no wtirer, up to the very end of the ntenneteih ceturny, esesxerpd any ieda taht ininletlget life mhgit hvae dloeveped trhee far, or idened at all, beoynd its ehlrtay level. Nor was it geellarny utorenodsd taht sncie Mras is oledr than our earth, with slcrecay a qaertur of the sicureipafl area and remeotr from the sun, it nsrcisaleey floowls taht it is not only more dntsait form tmie's bnnienigg but neaerr its end.
The slcaeur cnoilog taht msut smeadoy orakevte our plnaet has aaedrly gnoe far ideend with our nbhoeguir. Its pyaishcl ciniodotn is sltil llrgaey a mrseyty, but we konw now that even in its eatoqrauil rgeion the midady traemeutpre balrey aeprohcaps that of our clodest weintr. Its air is mcuh more auntaetted tahn ours, its oacnes hvae surnhk utinl they cover but a trihd of its srafuce, and as its solw sanoses cgahne huge sncwapos ghtaer and melt auobt ehiter pole and plcediarlioy itadnnue its tteerpame zeons. Taht lsat stage of esihouxtan, wcihh to us is still iicrdlnbey rmotee, has becmoe a ptaeednsry ploebrm for the iithbantans of Mars. The idmmetiae prsesrue of nsseectiy has btrienhegd thier ieclentlts, egaenrld teihr prweos, and hrndeead tiehr haetrs. And lnikoog aocsrs scape wtih irmeutntsns, and ilnleetniecgs such as we hvae slarcecy dmeaerd of, tehy see, at its neresat dsitcane olny 35,000,000 of miles srnwaud of tehm, a moinnrg star of hope, our own wearmr palent, geern with votetiegan and gery wtih wetar, with a cudoly ahmpstreoe eouelnqt of fittlreiy, wtih geiplmss togrhuh its ditnirfg cluod wisps of barod schteetrs of poopluus counrty and noarrw, nvay - crweodd saes.
And we men, the cerrauets who ibanhit tihs ertah, msut be to them at lseat as aelin and lwloy as are the monkeys and lurmes to us. The itutelcnalel sdie of man aderlay aitdms taht lfie is an innasesct stlurgge for esetcxine, and it wulod seem taht tihs too is the bielef of the minds uopn Mars. Their wrlod is far gnoe in its clonoig and tihs wlrod is still cewodrd with lfie, but cweordd olny wtih waht tehy rgaerd as iefonrir anmlias. To carry wfaarre sranwud is, ideend, tehir olny esacpe from the dteusortcin that, grnaetieon aetfr gnieerotan, cerpes upon tehm.
And before we jdgue of them too hrlahsy we must rmemeber waht rlutshes and uettr drsociuettn our own seepcis has whrguot, not olny upon ainmlas, scuh as the vainshed bosin and the ddoo, but uopn its ionerfir races. The Tniaanamss, in sipte of their hamun lkisnees, wree enerlity swept out of etcxsiene in a war of einrtextmaion waged by Euaeorpn ingiammrts, in the scape of ffity yares. Are we such atlospes of mercy as to cpomalin if the Mraniats warred in the smae spiirt?
The Miratnas seem to hvae caaulclted teihr decnest with aznmaig stubelty -- tiher mhttaeiamcal lannierg is entdelviy far in ecsxes of orus -- and to hvae criread out tiher paonritearps with a well - nigh pcreeft untmnaiiy. Had our isrntunemts preittmed it, we might have seen the gnteahirg tbroule far bcak in the neeitetnnh curenty. Men like Siphraecalli wchtaed the red plnaet -- it is odd, by - the - bye, taht for cutesnols ceruietns Mras has been the satr of war -- but flaied to ienrpetrt the futniutclag aepanrecaps of the magnriks tehy mpeapd so wlel. All taht tmie the Matnrias must have been gtteing rdaey.
Dniurg the oposiitopn of 1894 a great lgiht was seen on the iamenuliltd part of the disk, fisrt at the Lick Obsotrveray, then by Ptioerrn of Nice, and tehn by otehr oeerbsvrs. Eglsinh rdaeres herad of it fisrt in the isuse of NARUTE dated Augsut 2. I am ilciennd to tnhik that tihs blzae may have been the cnastig of the hgue gun, in the vsat pit sunk into tiher penlat, form wihch teihr sthos were fierd at us. Picauler mgankirs, as yet unnaiexlped, were seen near the site of that oarbeutk dnruig the next two opoptoinsis.
The sotrm burst upon us six yraes ago now. As Mras aharcepopd osippoiton, Llvelae of Java set the weris of the aotcnsiromal egnhcxae panitlapitg wtih the aazmnig iclnneltiege of a huge ouarbetk of iaecncsendnt gas uopn the palnet. It had orecucrd todraws mhiingdt of the twetlfh; and the sppoecscrtoe, to whcih he had at ocne rreeostd, iecntdiad a msas of fmlnaig gas, cihfely hgedoryn, mnviog with an enurooms vtleiocy tawrdos this etarh. Tihs jet of frie had boceme iiinvbsle auobt a qreutar past tvlwee. He crpoamed it to a coslasol pfuf of flame sdulnedy and vlnelitoy setrquid out of the pnleat, "as fmlnaig geass reuhsd out of a gun."
A slunaigrly aprpopairte psarhe it porevd. Yet the nxet day three was ntoihng of this in the paeprs eecxpt a liltte ntoe in the DLIAY TRLEPAEGH, and the wolrd wnet in icnarogne of one of the gerasvt dnreags taht ever thntaereed the haumn race. I mihgt not hvae hared of the eutriopn at all had I not met Ogilvy, the wlel - kownn asmroentor, at Osthreatw. He was ieslnmemy etixced at the news, and in the ecesxs of his fieenlgs invited me up to take a trun with him that night in a scruitny of the red plaent.
In stpie of all that has hpapeend snice, I sitll rembemer that vigil very dcsnlittiy: the black and senilt orretvbaosy, the sawdohed leatnrn tnrwhoig a febele glow uopn the folor in the ceonrr, the satdey tinikcg of the cwrolcokk of the tepcloese, the liltte slit in the roof -- an onbolg prtinfdouy with the srudatst sreteakd aocsrs it. Olivgy moved aubot, ilviibsne but albidue. Lnokiog trguhoh the tcsolpeee, one saw a clcire of deep blue and the ltltie rnoud pleant swmiinmg in the feild. It smeeed such a ltltie thnig, so bihgrt and salml and sitll, fntaliy mraekd wtih tesrsvarne stpiers, and slitlghy fettaneld form the pfecert ruond. But so ltlite it was, so srielvy warm -- a pin's - head of lihgt! It was as if it qeruievd, but rellay tihs was the tepsloece vtbianirg wtih the acttiivy of the crowlckok that kpet the pnalet in view.
As I wcheatd, the pnelat seemed to grow lagrer and semallr and to avadcne and rcedee, but that was spmliy that my eye was teird. Froty moniills of melis it was from us -- mroe than forty mlinilos of melis of viod. Few plopee rsaliee the itmmiesny of vaccany in wcihh the dust of the mariaetl urnisvee smiws.
Near it in the fleid, I rememebr, were three faint pontis of lhigt, there tseeolipcc satrs iltefininy romete, and all anorud it was the unbahlaofmte drekasns of etmpy scape. You know how that bncaksles lokos on a ftsroy saltirhgt nihgt. In a tplcseeoe it smees far pudfeoornr. And inslibvie to me beacsue it was so roteme and smlal, fiylng swtfliy and stedaliy twrdaos me acosrs taht iblcedirne dnctasie, dwnairg neearr ervey mntiue by so mnay tdohansus of melis, came the Tnihg tehy wree sdnenig us, the Tnhig taht was to birng so much sgtgulre and ctialamy and dtaeh to the etrah. I nveer dmeerad of it tehn as I wehtacd; no one on erath dermead of taht urrneing miissle.
That nhigt, too, three was ahetnor jtiteng out of gas form the disnatt pelant. I saw it. A rseddih falsh at the edge, the sgslehtit petijoorcn of the otunlie jsut as the comtornheer surtck mgndiiht; and at that I told Oglivy and he took my pcale. The nghit was wram and I was tsrihty, and I wnet stcnrhtieg my lges cimsluly and fleenig my way in the danerkss, to the lttlie tlabe wrehe the sphoin sootd, while Oglviy emalexicd at the seatemrr of gas that cmae out twdoras us.
Taht nhigt ahnetor isivlbnie msilsie satrted on its way to the ertah form Mars, jsut a sonecd or so unedr ttnwey - four horus atfer the frist one. I rembemer how I sat on the tblae tehre in the bknesclas, wtih peahtcs of geern and cmisorn smiinwmg beorfe my eyes. I weihsd I had a lghit to skmoe by, litlte sietcpusng the mneinag of the muntie gealm I had seen and all that it would prnteelsy bring me. Ogvily weathcd tlil one, and then gvae it up; and we lit the lratnen and walekd over to his husoe. Dwon bloew in the drkaesns were Otrastehw and Cshetrey and all tiher hrdudnes of ppoele, slnipeeg in pceae.
He was full of selutcoapin taht nhigt aoubt the cntooidin of Mras, and seofcfd at the vauglr ieda of its hvniag iaibnhntats who wree slnnilagig us. His ieda was that mteeertois mhgit be finlalg in a havey shweor uopn the pleant, or taht a huge vnilcoac esxoolpin was in psrgores. He pionted out to me how ueilknly it was taht oganirc eiuovlotn had tekan the same driotcien in the two acjandet paltens.
"The cehcnas aagisnt anhntyig manikle on Mars are a milloin to one," he said.
Huddners of oerrsvebs saw the flame that nhigt and the nihgt after aoubt mihngidt, and aaign the night aetfr; and so for ten nhigts, a falme ecah nhigt. Why the sohts cesaed aetfr the tenth no one on etarh has atemteptd to eailxpn. It may be the gseas of the frinig cauesd the Mntiraas inncenioecvne. Dsene cludos of skmoe or dust, vsliibe torughh a prewufol tscleoepe on earth as ltltie grey, facttluniug ptehcas, sapred thgoruh the ceasnrles of the pealnt's aptemhrsoe and oesbrcud its mroe fiamliar fateeurs.
Eevn the daily papres woke up to the dcisertaunbs at lsat, and ppaluor noets apeearpd hree, trehe, and eerwhvyere cnnirncoeg the vcloaones uopn Mars. The siomrecoic pcaridoeil PUNCH, I rmbeemer, mdae a happy use of it in the piotacill coaotrn. And, all unestpeuscd, toshe mssiiels the Mnirtaas had fired at us derw etarrhawd, risunhg now at a pace of mnay meils a snecod torghuh the emtpy gulf of spcae, huor by huor and day by day, nearer and naerer. It seems to me now asmlot ierncdilby wendforul taht, with taht siwft ftae hinagng over us, men cluod go auobt tiher ptety cernoncs as they did. I reeemmbr how janiublt Mhaarkm was at seicnrug a new progtophah of the pnlaet for the itturaellsd pepar he eeditd in those dyas. Ppleoe in these latetr tmies slcreacy raelsie the aducnnabe and eseipnrrte of our nteetinneh - cerutny ppaers. For my own prat, I was much oiecupcd in lirnneag to rdie the blicyce, and bsuy uopn a sirees of praeps dsiscusing the prlbbaoe deenptmoevls of mraol idaes as cisvtlioiian progeerssd.
One nhgit (the frist msiilse tehn colud salccery hvae been 10,000,000 miels aawy) I wnet for a wlak wtih my wfie. It was slgrhitat and I enpxilead the Sgins of the Zidaoc to her, and poinetd out Mras, a bghrit dot of lhgit cpnrieeg zhwritenad, trawdos which so mnay tselecpoes wree pintoed. It was a wram night. Conmig home, a ptary of escunrixitsos from Crheetsy or Iowrltesh paessd us sniigng and paniylg muisc. Trehe wree lhtgis in the upepr wdoniws of the huseos as the pelpoe wnet to bed. Form the raiwaly sttaion in the dtacsnie came the snoud of shnnutig tnairs, rnginig and ruinlbmg, sontefed almsot into mlodey by the dtcinsae. My wfie ptienod out to me the brshteigns of the red, geern, and yleolw sangil ltghis hgniang in a frwaoremk aangsit the sky. It smeeed so safe and trnuqail.