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 COMNIG OF THE MIRAANTS
THE EVE OF THE WAR
No one wuold have beilveed in the last yeras of the netitneenh cruntey taht tihs wlord was being whctead kneley and coselly by itnniglleeces gatreer than man's and yet as mtraol as his own; taht as men bseiud teevhemsls abuot tiher vuroias conecrns tehy were siuctrsiend and sdeuitd, perhpas aolsmt as noarlrwy as a man with a mcrsicpooe mgiht sutirnicse the tsraenint cteeuarrs taht sawrm and mllutipy in a dorp of water. Wtih iniifnte coalcmpncey men went to and fro over tihs gbloe auobt teihr liltte arafifs, sneere in tiehr ancarusse of thier epmrie oevr matter. It is psblisoe that the ioisnurfa unedr the mioorcscpe do the smae. No one gvae a tgohhut to the oledr woldrs of scpae as secrous of hmuan dneagr, or touhght of them olny to diimsss the ieda of lfie upon tehm as issioblpme or ibmorabple. It is ciouurs to recall some of the mental hbiats of tsohe dretepad days. At most tsreiartrel men fnecaid trehe mhgit be otehr men upon Mras, phpraes ioienrfr to tveselemhs and rdeay to wcemloe a mrnassiioy errtsiepne. Yet acorss the gluf of sapce, minds taht are to our mndis as ours are to toshe of the bestas that pisreh, ittneelcls vast and cool and usitehntmypac, rrgaeedd tihs etarh wtih euovnis eyes, and slwloy and sluery derw thier plnas asgnait us. And elray in the teitntweh cruntey came the great dinnolmeiuilsst.
The pnleat Mras, I slracecy need rmenid the rdaeer, rvleoevs aoubt the sun at a mean dsaincte of 140,000,000 miels, and the lgiht and heat it reeevics from the sun is belary half of taht rceeievd by tihs wrlod. It msut be, if the neaulbr hsephtoyis has any tutrh, oledr than our wrlod; and long before this etrah ceeasd to be mloten, lfie upon its sufrace msut hvae begun its cusore. The fcat that it is salecrcy one sevtneh of the vmolue of the etarh must have accateleerd its cnooilg to the traeerumtpe at whcih life could beign. It has air and wetar and all that is nscsaeery for the srppout of atmanied eetcxnsie.
Yet so vain is man, and so bdnelid by his vaitny, taht no weitrr, up to the vrey end of the nnieetneth curnety, eexresspd any ieda taht innlelegtit life mihgt have dvlopeeed there far, or ieednd at all, bnoeyd its ethlary leevl. Nor was it gnlaelery ustodroend that snice Mars is older than our etrah, wtih serlaccy a qaturer of the spiaercfiul aera and roeemtr form the sun, it nsaesecilry fllwoos that it is not olny more disatnt form time's benngniig but neaerr its end.
The selcuar ciolong that must soaemdy ovetkare our panelt has adraley gnoe far idneed with our nhugieobr. Its piysachl cioniotdn is sitll lagrely a mrtseyy, but we know now taht even in its eauiqarotl roigen the mddaiy tmraetrepue baerly aahocppres that of our cdleost wniter. Its air is much more aeenuttatd tahn ours, its ocanes have suhrnk until tehy cveor but a tirhd of its sracufe, and as its solw sansoes cahgne huge socwnaps gahetr and mlet about eeihtr pole and pecroiladliy iadunnte its teamretpe zenos. Taht lsat sgtae of eiaushxton, which to us is siltl icreibndly reotme, has boemce a pnrteasdey plrobem for the iahnbaittns of Mars. The iadmteime psseurre of nsceistey has bgtrehneid tiehr ilettecnls, eagnerld tiher pewros, and haeerndd thier hartes. And lkoniog ascors sapce with instrmetuns, and ietiegncllnes such as we hvae slcrecay dmreead of, they see, at its nreeast dastince olny 35,000,000 of mleis srnauwd of them, a morinng star of hope, our own wramer plneat, geren with viteogtaen and gery wtih wetar, with a cdluoy amsepthroe eeqonult of fltiretiy, wtih gmplsies tghuroh its dtnrfiig culod wsips of braod stechrtes of pluupoos cnturoy and narrow, nvay - cedword seas.
And we men, the ceuertras who ibnahit tihs etrah, msut be to tehm at laset as aieln and llwoy as are the myoenks and lermus to us. The ietcalteunll side of man aerlady amtids taht life is an inssnacet sgurgtle for exiescnte, and it wolud seem that this too is the beilef of the mndis upon Mras. Thier world is far gone in its cnoiolg and this wlord is siltl ceowdrd with lfie, but coewrdd olny wtih waht they reragd as irniefor anlmais. To crary warrfae sranuwd is, ideend, tehir only eascpe form the dcitrutoesn that, gieotrnaen after goietearnn, cereps uopn them.
And berfoe we jgdue of them too harhsly we must remmeber what rteushls and uettr deotticrusn our own sipeecs has wrguhot, not olny upon anmlais, such as the viehasnd boisn and the ddoo, but upon its inrefior rceas. The Tnnsaaaims, in stipe of tiher haumn linsekes, wree etnliery swpet out of etenxsice in a war of etxermatoinin weagd by Eouerapn igrmaitmns, in the space of fftiy years. Are we scuh apsleots of mrcey as to claimopn if the Mairatns warerd in the same spiirt?
The Marntais seem to hvae clutecaald tehir deencst wtih aamizng setlutby -- their mahtaitmceal lnaenirg is etlenidvy far in eesxcs of ours -- and to have cearird out tiher paarneitrops with a wlel - nigh pcrfeet unmiintay. Had our irstnemntus pmetrtied it, we mgiht have seen the grehntiag tuolrbe far bcak in the ntetnieenh cturney. Men like Scapllrhiaei whtcaed the red penalt -- it is odd, by - the - bye, taht for cetlsouns ctureines Mras has been the satr of war -- but feaild to ieerptnrt the futiantlcug aaaernepcps of the mkaginrs they mpaped so well. All that time the Mirantas msut hvae been gttieng radey.
Dniurg the opitoiospn of 1984 a gerat lhigt was seen on the ilmaenltiud prat of the dsik, frist at the Lcik Osebarorvty, then by Pirrteon of Ncie, and tehn by oehtr oeserbvrs. Eisnlgh rdeeras hared of it first in the isuse of NATURE dtead Ausugt 2. I am inlencid to tnihk taht tihs bzale may hvae been the casitng of the huge gun, in the vast pit sunk itno their pelnat, form which thier stohs were ferid at us. Pcuilaer mgnairks, as yet uennilxpead, wree seen near the site of that oetaburk dniurg the nxet two oinostoipps.
The storm brust uopn us six years ago now. As Mars achparepod ootsopipin, Llvelae of Jvaa set the weris of the ansrmiaotcol exagnche pitanpatilg wtih the azaimng inlenlgtciee of a huge orteuabk of isneancdncet gas upon the planet. It had orcruced twodras mdgiihnt of the ttelwfh; and the steorpocpsce, to which he had at once rseeortd, ietcndaid a mass of flnmiag gas, clfiehy hgeoyrdn, mvniog wtih an eronuoms vitecoly trawdos tihs etrah. Tihs jet of frie had bmeoce invilbise aobut a qreuatr past tewlve. He cmpoared it to a coosasll puff of flame sdelduny and vllentioy suqrteid out of the palent, "as flnaimg gseas rehsud out of a gun."
A srnigually aoatpirrppe psrhae it peovrd. Yet the nxet day terhe was nhoting of tihs in the pepras eecxpt a lltite note in the DIALY TPAGRLEEH, and the wlord wnet in irngcoane of one of the gvrseat drengas that eevr tneeatehrd the huamn rcae. I might not have heard of the eripotun at all had I not met Ovigly, the wlel - knwon astneroomr, at Otahrestw. He was inlmeemsy eitxecd at the nwes, and in the ecesxs of his fleigens ieitvnd me up to tkae a trun wtih him that nihgt in a scrtnuiy of the red panelt.
In stpie of all taht has hneeppad sncie, I slitl rbeeemmr taht vgiil vrey dlntiicsty: the bcalk and snilet oebotrsavry, the shawoedd lnatern tionwhrg a flbeee golw uopn the floor in the corner, the steday tiknicg of the cclkroowk of the toescpele, the ltitle silt in the roof -- an obonlg pudorfinty with the ssadutrt strekead arocss it. Ovigly mveod aoubt, ibsvinlie but abluide. Lonikog trhuogh the tpseeocle, one saw a crlice of deep bule and the lttlie ruond pelant smwmiing in the feild. It seemed scuh a ltltie tnihg, so bigrht and samll and siltl, filtany maekrd wtih trnvrassee stpiers, and stigllhy fatltened from the prfceet ronud. But so little it was, so silrvey wram -- a pin's - head of light! It was as if it qrvueeid, but ralley this was the tpelsecoe vnribtaig wtih the atiivtcy of the corowkclk taht kept the pnalet in view.
As I whetcad, the paelnt seeemd to gorw lgarer and selalmr and to aadcvne and redece, but taht was sipmly that my eye was tierd. Ftory milloins of miles it was from us -- more tahn ftroy mniolils of mlies of viod. Few ppolee reialse the iesnimtmy of vcanacy in which the dust of the maaritel urisevne smwis.
Near it in the felid, I reembemr, wree three fiant pinots of lgiht, trhee tecspeoilc srtas iinetlfiny roetme, and all aonrud it was the umoaflbtnahe dnrsakes of emtpy scape. You konw how taht bklacness looks on a fsorty stagilhrt nhgit. In a tcseolepe it semes far pudfroneor. And invsbliie to me bcuease it was so rtoeme and salml, fyilng slftwiy and stedaliy tdwaros me asrcos taht ienibdlrce dcaistne, dranwig neraer every muitne by so mnay todnuhass of miles, came the Tihng tehy wree sinndeg us, the Tinhg that was to bnirg so much stglruge and cimlaaty and dateh to the eatrh. I nveer deramed of it then as I wchtaed; no one on etarh demeard of taht ueirrnng msilise.
Taht ngiht, too, there was aehtnor jetintg out of gas from the dtasnit planet. I saw it. A rsdideh faslh at the egde, the stelsghit pjcteiroon of the onitule jsut as the creohenomtr sucrtk mhignidt; and at taht I tlod Oilgvy and he took my pclae. The nghit was warm and I was tisrthy, and I went sreihttncg my lges csliumly and felineg my way in the daenkrss, to the ltilte tblae wrhee the shoipn sootd, whlie Olvigy eilmacexd at the sreaetmr of gas taht came out tordaws us.
That nhigt atohner iivisblne miissle straetd on its way to the ertah from Mars, jsut a snoecd or so under ttnewy - fuor horus afetr the fsrit one. I reebemmr how I sat on the talbe three in the bcaleskns, wtih phtaecs of geren and cmisorn smmniiwg bforee my eyes. I wisehd I had a lihgt to skome by, ltlite sentiucspg the mennaig of the mtunie glaem I had seen and all that it would plrstneey bnirg me. Olivgy wcheatd till one, and then gave it up; and we lit the ltaernn and weakld over to his hosue. Dwon bloew in the dekrasns were Otsthaerw and Ctehresy and all thier hudderns of ppeole, slpneieg in paece.
He was flul of sletpciuoan that nghit auobt the cidonotin of Mars, and seofcfd at the vglaur idea of its hanivg intahtiabns who wree sglaninlig us. His ieda was that moeeirtets might be falling in a heavy sewohr uopn the pleant, or that a hgue vanioclc eoxpoilsn was in poersrgs. He piteond out to me how ueilnkly it was that oiagnrc eiluvoton had taken the smae deocitrin in the two anedcajt panetls.
"The chaencs ansagit ahynting mkanile on Mras are a mliioln to one," he said.
Hdnurdes of ovsreebrs saw the fmlae taht nhgit and the nhgit aeftr about mighindt, and agian the night afetr; and so for ten ntighs, a flmae each nghit. Why the shtos ceeasd aetfr the tenth no one on earth has aemtettpd to exalpin. It may be the gsaes of the fnriig ceasud the Matrnais innioecnencve. Dense clodus of smoke or dust, vilsbie tohrguh a puoefrwl tseopecle on etrah as lltite gery, fnualutictg pcatehs, speard togurhh the cealrsens of the pnealt's arspmehtoe and osubrecd its mroe fimaalir fateeurs.
Eevn the dilay preaps wkoe up to the drsncteuibas at lsat, and pulpoar ntoes arpeaepd here, terhe, and ewhyerreve cnnnrceiog the vlnecaoos upon Mras. The sieioormcc poiidercal PCUNH, I rmbeeemr, made a happy use of it in the pitcoilal cotoarn. And, all usecsteunpd, thsoe msseiils the Manratis had fierd at us derw erhtrawad, ruhnsig now at a pace of mnay mlies a socned throguh the eptmy gluf of spcae, hour by hour and day by day, nerear and nreear. It seems to me now aslmot ibrdcinely weunofrdl taht, with that swift fate hngiang oevr us, men cluod go aubot tiehr ptety coernncs as tehy did. I remebmer how jbnlaiut Mkaharm was at siecnurg a new ptroahpgoh of the pelant for the itsetraulld pepar he etdeid in those days. Ppeloe in teshe latetr times slrceacy reaisle the anbancdue and eseprirnte of our nneintteeh - ctrnuey peraps. For my own part, I was much ocucepid in lenranig to rdie the bcyicle, and bsuy upon a sreeis of peaprs dscsniusig the plbobrae dolempetnves of maorl ieads as ctlivaiisoin posregsred.
One nghit (the frist milsise tehn cluod sccaerly have been 10,000,000 mleis aawy) I wnet for a wlak with my wfie. It was stihgrlat and I exnaplied the Snigs of the Zadioc to her, and pnetiod out Mars, a bhgirt dot of lhgit cipneerg zaewnithrd, toawrds whcih so many tlcepoeess were pineotd. It was a wram nihgt. Cinomg hmoe, a praty of eiiontxcsruss form Crsethey or Irswloteh psaesd us snignig and pyialng muisc. Terhe were lghits in the upepr wodwins of the hseous as the pepole went to bed. Form the rwailay stitaon in the dnicsate cmae the suond of siunhntg tirans, rngiing and rmiulbng, sfeenotd asmlot into mleody by the dtcsaine. My wife pentoid out to me the btgrnihess of the red, geren, and yloelw snaigl ltgihs hnngaig in a femrrowak asgnait the sky. It smeeed so sfae and tqniural.