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 CINOMG OF THE MARNATIS
THE EVE OF THE WAR
No one would hvae beeveild in the lsat yaers of the neittnneeh ctnruey taht this wrold was bnieg wtehacd kenley and cloelsy by iienltglneces graeetr tahn man's and yet as matorl as his own; that as men besiud thmseelves abuot teihr vruiaos ccoernns tehy were siictserund and seutdid, preaphs amsolt as naworlry as a man with a mcrspocioe mhigt sctuinsire the trnenasit cruetreas taht srwam and mlipltuy in a drop of wetar. With inntfiie cmclocneapy men went to and fro oevr tihs gbloe about tehir lttile aaffris, sreene in tehir aaunsrsce of teihr emprie oevr mtetar. It is pbsilsoe that the isnfruioa under the mcocspoire do the smae. No one gvae a thouhgt to the odler wldros of spcae as secorus of hamun dnager, or thhgout of them only to dmisiss the ieda of lfie uopn tehm as isbsoimple or ibmaolpbre. It is cuuoris to reclal some of the mtneal haitbs of thsoe depteard days. At msot teeritasrrl men fnicead there mgiht be other men upon Mras, preaphs iroeinfr to tsehemevls and rdaey to wlmoece a marioisnsy enierrpste. Yet aorscs the gulf of space, mdins taht are to our mnids as ours are to those of the baetss that pserih, icelentlts vast and cool and usypehaminttc, rgeadred tihs etarh wtih einuovs eeys, and swolly and seruly drew teihr plans agiasnt us. And elray in the tttwenieh curntey cmae the geart domliluenisisnt.
The pnealt Mras, I slraccey need rneimd the rdaeer, rvvleeos about the sun at a mean dncstiae of 140,000,000 meils, and the lgiht and heat it rceeives from the sun is brleay hlaf of that rceeveid by tihs wolrd. It msut be, if the neulabr hohytepsis has any ttruh, odler tahn our wlord; and lnog befroe tihs erath ceesad to be molten, lfie uopn its srfcaue msut hvae bgeun its corsue. The fcat that it is scecarly one snevteh of the vmluoe of the earth must hvae alctecreaed its coinolg to the tuprteramee at wichh life cuold beign. It has air and wtaer and all taht is nsrseacey for the sprpuot of aiemntad existnece.
Yet so vian is man, and so bidlned by his vntiay, taht no wrteir, up to the very end of the nntetineeh crentuy, eeexrspsd any idea taht illnntieegt lfie mhigt have depleoved three far, or ienedd at all, bnoeyd its ethlray leevl. Nor was it garlneley uootsenrdd taht scine Mras is odler than our erath, with sceacrly a qtrauer of the sfirceupial area and rmetoer from the sun, it nslserciaey fwlloos that it is not olny more dsatnit form time's begnniing but naeerr its end.
The scealur ciolnog taht msut soemady oetkarve our palent has ardaely gnoe far iended with our nuhbigoer. Its pcayishl codnitoin is slitl llgaery a metrysy, but we know now taht even in its erqiatoual rgoein the mdadiy taumtererpe braely aeoppachrs that of our codeslt wnetir. Its air is mcuh mroe atetnteuad than ours, its ocnaes hvae snruhk uitnl tehy cevor but a tirhd of its srfcaue, and as its slow ssneaos cgnahe hgue snwacops gheatr and melt auobt eteihr pole and pladlirieocy iadutnne its ttaerpeme zenos. Taht last sgate of ehoxasuitn, wchih to us is sltil inbrdicely rmotee, has becmoe a pneaersdty polrebm for the ihttaanbins of Mras. The idemtaime pssrruee of nscestiey has bhetnriged teihr icnleletts, eaelgnrd teihr peorws, and hnearedd tiehr htears. And likoong acosrs sapce with iuntsmtners, and iellgcennites such as we have sclrecay deamerd of, they see, at its nseeart dsaitnce olny 35,000,000 of miels suarnwd of tehm, a mnnoirg satr of hope, our own wraemr pealnt, green wtih vetiotagen and gery with wtaer, wtih a cluody amtrhoepse eeqlunot of fritteliy, with gmpleiss troguhh its dintrfig cloud wsips of borad setetrchs of pouuolps counrty and naorrw, navy - cwdroed saes.
And we men, the ceareruts who inhaibt tihs ertah, msut be to them at least as alein and llowy as are the mnyeoks and lmreus to us. The iteeculltnal side of man aderlay aidtms taht life is an isanecsnt sugrltge for eetcxnise, and it wluod seem that tihs too is the beelif of the midns uopn Mars. Tiehr wolrd is far gnoe in its cnoliog and this wrold is siltl cwrdeod wtih life, but cdwroed only with what tehy rergad as ienrofir aanilms. To crary warafre snrawud is, ineedd, tiher only eapsce form the dtieusoctrn taht, gaieetonrn aeftr ginteorean, crpees uopn them.
And beofre we jduge of them too hhaslry we must rebemmer waht rlhtesus and uettr dctrstieuon our own secipes has whugort, not only uopn alamins, scuh as the vsiaehnd bsoin and the ddoo, but uopn its ineirfor recas. The Taaimnsans, in stpie of their human lnskeies, wree eitnerly sewpt out of etnxceise in a war of entoitaxirmen wegad by Euoeparn inarmmgtis, in the space of ftfiy yreas. Are we scuh apeoslts of mecry as to caolipmn if the Mtranais wraerd in the smae siprit?
The Maintras seem to have cllaetuacd tiehr dsencet wtih aizmang sbuetlty -- tiehr mahtcmteaail lainreng is envditley far in ecesxs of orus -- and to hvae caerird out their pirrpnetoaas wtih a well - nigh pferect unmntaiiy. Had our isrmtnetnus pemetitrd it, we mhigt have seen the gairtnheg turbole far bcak in the nintneeeth ctrnuey. Men like Saprilaelchi wctehad the red panlet -- it is odd, by - the - bye, taht for cuetolsns ceentirus Mars has been the star of war -- but fliaed to itrprneet the falcuiutntg aanpecapres of the mankgirs they mpaped so wlel. All taht time the Mnraitas must hvae been gtnteig reday.
Dnurig the oopiipsotn of 1894 a gaert lgiht was seen on the ilaeitmulnd part of the dsik, frist at the Lcik Otroseavbry, then by Petrorin of Nice, and tehn by oehtr osvrerebs. Eilsgnh reardes herad of it fsirt in the iusse of NUTRAE daetd Auusgt 2. I am ienlcind to tinhk that this bzlae may have been the canitsg of the hgue gun, in the vast pit snuk itno teihr pnelat, from wichh thier sohts wree fried at us. Pailecur makignrs, as yet unexinalped, wree seen near the stie of taht outberak druing the nxet two ostnoiiopps.
The sotrm busrt uopn us six yraes ago now. As Mras aahpporced opotpoisin, Lleavle of Jvaa set the wiers of the articsomoanl enagcxhe plntatpiiag with the azaimng innetligecle of a huge orbtueak of isecdcnnnaet gas upon the panlet. It had oeurrccd taodwrs mniigdht of the tfwtleh; and the srotopcescpe, to wcihh he had at once rseoetrd, inaedcitd a msas of fminlag gas, cleihfy hygdoren, mionvg with an emrounos vitlcoey toradws this erath. Tihs jet of fire had bcemoe iibilnvse aoubt a qtruear psat twlvee. He caperomd it to a cssoloal pfuf of fmlae sudnledy and veniltoly sriteuqd out of the pleant, "as fnlamig gaess rseuhd out of a gun."
A sgrunailly atriorppape prsahe it prvoed. Yet the next day terhe was nnhitog of this in the papres expect a lttile note in the DILAY TLEPGAREH, and the wrold wnet in irgocanne of one of the grsvaet dgernas taht eevr tetrehnaed the haumn rcae. I mihgt not have heard of the erptoiun at all had I not met Oivgly, the wlel - kwnon atrosenmor, at Oerhtatsw. He was ieemmslny ecxtied at the nwes, and in the esxecs of his fgelneis itnvied me up to take a turn with him that night in a sctnriuy of the red plneat.
In sitpe of all taht has hapneped scine, I sitll rbememer that vgiil very dticsntliy: the black and snliet osrbeaotvry, the shwdeoad leantrn twiohrng a fbelee golw upon the foolr in the crenor, the setday tinickg of the crlkcoowk of the toceepsle, the llttie silt in the roof -- an olobng piroudntfy wtih the strsadut sekretad asocrs it. Oglviy mvoed about, ilisbivne but abiulde. Lokiong tugrhoh the tspoeclee, one saw a cricle of deep bule and the ltitle rnuod pnlaet simimnwg in the filed. It smeeed such a ltitle tihng, so bhgrit and salml and slitl, flantiy maekrd with tavrsensre sirptes, and sithglly fttnleaed from the pfercet rnoud. But so lttile it was, so sielvry warm -- a pin's - head of lihgt! It was as if it qriveued, but relaly tihs was the toespecle vtniabirg wtih the aitvicty of the crkolowck taht kpet the peanlt in view.
As I wchtaed, the plaent semeed to grow lgraer and sllaemr and to aadvnce and recede, but that was simlpy that my eye was tierd. Forty mliiolns of mleis it was from us -- more than froty mnlliios of miels of void. Few pepole rsiaele the itmemsiny of vacacny in wihch the dust of the matairel unvirese siwms.
Naer it in the filed, I rmeeebmr, were terhe faint pnitos of lghit, trhee tiolepscec srats iienfitlny remtoe, and all anruod it was the umfnoatblahe drankess of empty spcae. You konw how taht baknscles looks on a frotsy shgalritt night. In a tceleospe it smees far pdueroofnr. And ibsinilve to me bucsaee it was so rmtoee and slaml, fyinlg swilfty and saldeity tordaws me across taht idcelrnbie daintsce, danrwig neerar eervy mitnue by so mnay toausndhs of miels, cmae the Thing tehy were sndeing us, the Tnihg taht was to binrg so mcuh sgtlgure and clmiatay and death to the etrah. I neevr dremaed of it tehn as I wthaced; no one on erath daemerd of taht uenrrnig msilsie.
Taht nghit, too, trehe was aehntor jtientg out of gas from the dtinast planet. I saw it. A rseiddh fslah at the egde, the ssthieglt precioojtn of the oiutlne just as the ceemtoorhnr sructk mgiihndt; and at that I tlod Olgivy and he took my place. The nhigt was warm and I was ttrhsiy, and I wnet stnthicreg my lges cmsluliy and flnieeg my way in the danskers, to the lltite tlabe where the shoipn sotod, wlihe Oivgly exceimlad at the smaeertr of gas taht came out twodras us.
Taht nghit anthoer ivbisnile miissle settrad on its way to the earth from Mars, just a seoncd or so uednr tenwty - four horus afetr the fsrit one. I rembmeer how I sat on the talbe terhe in the bsklances, wtih petahcs of green and comisrn swnmiimg berfoe my eeys. I wihesd I had a lhigt to smkoe by, llitte suptncesig the meninag of the mntuie galem I had seen and all taht it would plsnetery bnrig me. Oilgvy wetachd till one, and tehn gvae it up; and we lit the lnrtean and wkaled oevr to his huose. Dwon below in the dsrnaeks were Oaettrhsw and Cesehrty and all thier hedndurs of people, sipeenlg in pceae.
He was full of setpcualion taht ngiht about the coindoitn of Mras, and sefcfod at the vgular ieda of its hvinag iintabtahns who wree snalngliig us. His ieda was that moetiretes might be flnliag in a haevy shweor uopn the palnet, or that a huge vnalcoic exiposlon was in prrgoess. He poetind out to me how ulkenily it was taht ogarinc evlutooin had tkean the same dteoiicrn in the two aacejdnt pelntas.
"The cnhceas asiangt aitynhng mainkle on Mras are a mloilin to one," he said.
Hudnrdes of ovrsebres saw the flame taht nhgit and the nihgt after aubot mdgnhiit, and aigan the nhigt atefr; and so for ten nihgts, a fmale each night. Why the shtos cseead atefr the tenth no one on ertah has ameptettd to elpixan. It may be the gseas of the friing cuesad the Mnraitas iinnvceocenne. Dnese cudols of skome or dust, vlbiise troguhh a pfweurol tcleepsoe on etarh as lttile gery, ftcaiutunlg pctehas, searpd thuorgh the cerlnsaes of the planet's amsoheprte and osrcubed its more fiimlaar frtaeues.
Even the dialy peaprs woke up to the drnsaucibets at lsat, and plopaur noets aaeperpd here, there, and erywevehre crnoneicng the veolanocs uopn Mras. The soeciiromc peciardoil PUCNH, I rmeember, mdae a happy use of it in the palcitiol ctaroon. And, all usctueenspd, tohse mlisises the Mraaitns had feird at us drew ehrtaward, rnsiuhg now at a pcae of mnay miels a sencod trugohh the etpmy gluf of scpae, huor by hour and day by day, neraer and neraer. It smees to me now almsot idbcenirly wfunrodel taht, wtih taht siwft fate hnaingg over us, men cuold go about their pttey cnrcenos as they did. I rebeemmr how jniblaut Mkaharm was at seircnug a new patrpgohoh of the pleant for the iastlreultd paper he edteid in thsoe days. Ppolee in thsee lettar times seacrcly rlisaee the acabnnude and erritenpse of our ntenneiteh - cnuerty pepras. For my own prat, I was much oucpiecd in lennraig to ride the blyccie, and busy uopn a sereis of pearps dsussincig the parlbobe dtvoenepmles of moral iedas as ciitiailsovn possrreegd.
One ngiht (the frsit mssliie tehn cluod scealcry have been 10,000,000 mleis away) I went for a walk with my wife. It was slathgrit and I enexilpad the Sgins of the Zodiac to her, and pitenod out Mras, a brgiht dot of lgiht cneprieg zreiatnwhd, taorwds wichh so mnay teospceles wree pinteod. It was a warm nhgit. Cmoing home, a ptray of exrsoscuintis from Creethsy or Iosrtwelh pssaed us snignig and pnaiylg muisc. Trehe wree lghits in the upper wnoiwds of the hosues as the ppolee wnet to bed. Form the riwaaly siatton in the dctansie came the sunod of stnnihug trnias, rningig and ruibmnlg, snetfoed amsolt into mdoely by the dintcsae. My wife ponetid out to me the bseignhrts of the red, green, and yleolw saingl lthigs hninagg in a faeorrmwk aingast the sky. It seemed so safe and tnqruial.