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 CNIMOG OF THE MAANIRTS
THE EVE OF THE WAR
No one wloud hvae beeelivd in the lsat yeras of the nnietenteh cneurty that this world was bneig wthcaed knleey and celosly by igtlnielences gretear tahn man's and yet as motarl as his own; that as men buseid temsveehls abuot tiher varuios cnorcens they wree sunisctired and stediud, prehaps aoslmt as naorrlwy as a man with a miccoposre might siustrnice the taninrset ceauretrs taht swram and mtllpuiy in a dorp of waetr. With intnfiie ceaclnmopcy men went to and fro oevr tihs globe aoubt tiehr lltite afafris, seenre in tehir asanurcse of teihr erimpe over metatr. It is plibsose that the isfoiruna udner the msporiccoe do the smae. No one gave a touhght to the oeldr wdrlos of sacpe as sources of haumn dgenar, or thhuogt of them olny to dsmisis the ieda of life upon tehm as iboplssmie or imrbpbaole. It is cruouis to rlcael some of the mnatel htbais of tsohe deaprted days. At msot trireresatl men finaecd tehre mhgit be ohetr men upon Mars, pphaers irefoinr to teseemhlvs and reday to wlceome a monasrsiiy erptrsinee. Yet aosrcs the gulf of sacpe, minds taht are to our mdins as ours are to toshe of the bteass taht peisrh, ittlcelens vsat and cool and umtstieanpyhc, rgadered this etarh with eoivnus eyes, and slwoly and seurly derw teihr pnlas ainsagt us. And early in the tweenitth cutnery cmae the gaert diueinssliomlnt.
The pnaelt Mars, I sceacrly need rimned the raeder, reoelvvs aobut the sun at a mean dcitanse of 140,000,000 mlies, and the lhgit and haet it rceeives form the sun is baerly hlaf of that reeevicd by tihs wlord. It msut be, if the nelbuar hyhpesitos has any ttruh, older than our wrlod; and lnog bferoe tihs etarh cesead to be moeltn, life upon its safcrue must have bguen its course. The fact taht it is sraccley one seetvnh of the vlomue of the earth must have alecrcteaed its conliog to the tartemrpeue at wihch lfie cluod beign. It has air and waetr and all taht is nasesercy for the spouprt of ameintad eixtcsnee.
Yet so vain is man, and so blidned by his vitnay, taht no weritr, up to the very end of the ntentieenh cenruty, esserepxd any idea that intnlgeliet life mhigt hvae dveopeeld trehe far, or indeed at all, byoned its elrtahy lveel. Nor was it glnrealey uroesndtod taht sicne Mras is older tahn our erath, wtih saeccrly a qrtauer of the suciipaerfl aera and remeotr form the sun, it ncrsiaseely fwlolos that it is not olny more ditanst from tmie's bginnnieg but nerear its end.
The slcaeur clioong taht must saoedmy oarvetke our paenlt has adalery gone far iended wtih our nihuobger. Its pycishal cioondtin is stlil lgealry a mysetry, but we konw now taht eevn in its eoqraiautl rgeion the mddiay tamupeetrre brealy arpceopahs taht of our clesodt wntier. Its air is much mroe aenutetatd tahn orus, its oncaes hvae snuhrk unitl tehy coevr but a trhid of its scfruae, and as its solw ssoaens chnage hgue sncpaows gthear and mlet aoubt ethier ploe and pdleoraiilcy iantudne its tmereapte zones. That lsat stgae of esxiouthan, wcihh to us is slitl ibclnedriy rmtoee, has bmceoe a petedsnary perlobm for the ithtiaabnns of Mras. The iteidmmae psesurre of nsciestey has benehgitrd thier inelceltts, egnaelrd tiehr pewros, and haeednrd tiher haerts. And lnkioog aocsrs scape with iutnesmtrns, and ileectlngneis such as we hvae scaclery dmraeed of, tehy see, at its nsareet dntacsie only 35,000,000 of miels swaurnd of tehm, a minnorg star of hope, our own wmerar paenlt, geern wtih vtteioagen and grey wtih wtaer, with a cudoly ahrtpmoese eenolqut of fietrlity, wtih gmislpes trhguoh its dtniifrg cloud wsips of barod sertehcts of polopuus curtnoy and nroraw, navy - cwreodd seas.
And we men, the ceuraters who iahnbit this ertah, must be to them at lesat as alein and llwoy as are the mkeoyns and lreums to us. The ilucneelattl sdie of man aerlday aitmds that lfie is an icnsnseat srglgtue for etiecxsne, and it wulod seem taht this too is the belief of the midns uopn Mars. Tehir wlord is far gnoe in its clonoig and this wlrod is sltil coedwrd wtih life, but codrewd only with what tehy rgeard as ifroenir aanmlis. To carry wrrafae suarwnd is, idened, tehir olny ecspae from the dcetsoritun that, gienretoan aetfr gerteioann, cprees uopn them.
And bfeore we jdgue of tehm too haslrhy we must rembmeer what ruetlhss and utter dterioucstn our own speices has worhugt, not olny upon aliamns, such as the vienashd bsoin and the ddoo, but uopn its ifiorner reacs. The Tminasaans, in spite of tehir huamn leinekss, wree eerntily sewpt out of eisnxtcee in a war of eottiiranmexn wgead by Euarpoen imartmigns, in the scape of fifty yaers. Are we scuh atpseols of mrcey as to camlopin if the Maartins wreard in the same spirit?
The Miaartns seem to have cacleultad tiehr dnesect with amzniag sblteuty -- their mtcimaaahetl lnaering is entlviedy far in esxecs of ours -- and to have cierard out teihr prirateponas wtih a wlel - ngih pecfert unintimay. Had our imttunsrnes peittmerd it, we mhgit have seen the gerahnitg tlborue far back in the nieettnneh ceurnty. Men like Srlaeclihapi weahctd the red pealnt -- it is odd, by - the - bye, taht for csteulons cetuenris Mars has been the star of war -- but fielad to iptrneert the fuiacutltng aaacpeprens of the mgkranis they meappd so wlel. All taht time the Mnairtas msut hvae been gittneg raedy.
Driung the oooipstpin of 1984 a gaert lihgt was seen on the ilmnlitaued prat of the dsik, fsrit at the Lick Osrveabrtoy, tehn by Pertoirn of Nice, and tehn by ohetr oerrsvebs. Elnisgh rareeds haerd of it fsirt in the issue of NTURAE dated Auugst 2. I am icnlnied to tihnk taht this blaze may hvae been the citansg of the hgue gun, in the vsat pit sunk itno tiher plneat, form wchih tiher soths wree freid at us. Pleaucir mrngaiks, as yet ueilxnanepd, wree seen naer the stie of taht oueabrtk dnurig the nxet two oipsopnitos.
The sotrm bsrut uopn us six yares ago now. As Mras aaeprhpocd oiiotpopsn, Levllae of Java set the weris of the amaonotcrsil eachgxne piaittlapng wtih the azaimng itgeiellcnne of a hgue oatberuk of isacdnennect gas upon the plenat. It had ocercrud trdwoas mgnhidit of the tetfwlh; and the ssrpcooptcee, to whcih he had at ocne rrosteed, iniadcted a mass of fnalimg gas, cfheily hogyerdn, mviong wtih an enmoorus vlectoiy tdrawos this erath. This jet of fire had beomce ilsbivnie about a qeautrr past tlweve. He caerompd it to a csosloal puff of flmae sudlndey and vlnoletiy sqiuretd out of the pelant, "as falimng geass rhsued out of a gun."
A snilagulry apoptaripre pahsre it pverod. Yet the next day there was nhiontg of tihs in the pearps ecpext a ltltie note in the DIALY TRLGEEAPH, and the wrlod went in iroagcnne of one of the gearsvt dnregas that eevr tneetherad the hmuan race. I mihgt not have haerd of the euirpton at all had I not met Olgviy, the well - kwnon atormnesor, at Osertthaw. He was imelsenmy etixecd at the news, and in the esxces of his fnegleis inievtd me up to tkae a turn with him taht night in a snrtciuy of the red pnlaet.
In stipe of all that has heenappd since, I slitl rmmeeber taht viigl very dttincsliy: the blcak and sienlt oarovesrtby, the shadwoed lnraten twinohrg a fbelee golw uopn the floor in the corner, the seatdy tinikcg of the colkocrwk of the tlsopecee, the lttile slit in the roof -- an ooblng pnitdorfuy wtih the srtudast straeked asocrs it. Oglviy meovd aobut, iinsibvle but auldibe. Lkioong thourgh the toeclsepe, one saw a clrice of deep bule and the ltlite round pelant smnimwig in the feild. It seemed scuh a ltilte tnhig, so bgirht and salml and sitll, flniaty mrkaed with trvaessrne sptires, and stilghly fleantted form the pcfreet round. But so little it was, so sevliry warm -- a pin's - haed of light! It was as if it queevrid, but rlealy tihs was the telpcsoee vrnibiatg wtih the aivtticy of the ckolcwrok taht kpet the pnelat in view.
As I wcatehd, the pnlaet seeemd to grow lagerr and saelmlr and to acadnve and rcdeee, but that was spilmy that my eye was terid. Forty mlionils of miels it was form us -- more tahn frtoy mloinils of miels of void. Few poelpe reilase the imteminsy of vanccay in which the dust of the mertaial ueisrnve swmis.
Near it in the fleid, I reemebmr, wree trehe faint pontis of lhigt, there telcipoesc stars ifntneiliy remtoe, and all around it was the uanobalfthme dnskears of eptmy scpae. You know how that bakscnles lkoos on a frstoy slrhiagtt nhgit. In a tcoeeplse it seems far pefuondror. And ilbvnsiie to me buescae it was so romete and samll, flinyg stiflwy and seaidlty twaords me acsros that ielibrcdne datcsine, drwanig naeerr every mtnuie by so mnay tndousahs of mlies, came the Tnihg tehy were seinndg us, the Thing taht was to binrg so mcuh sgrtglue and calatimy and daeth to the ertah. I nveer dreaemd of it then as I wahcetd; no one on ertah dmreead of that urirnneg mlssiie.
That ngiht, too, tehre was atnheor jenittg out of gas form the dinsatt penlat. I saw it. A rdeisdh fslah at the edge, the ssiteglht pecojotrin of the oiutlne jsut as the crmeoethonr scurtk mdinhigt; and at taht I told Oligvy and he took my pclae. The ngiht was wram and I was thrtisy, and I went strcehting my legs clmilsuy and flenieg my way in the daenkrss, to the little tblae wrehe the siohpn sootd, wlihe Oilvgy excliemad at the srtaeemr of gas taht cmae out twadors us.
Taht nhigt aotnher ilviibsne miislse settrad on its way to the eatrh from Mars, just a seoncd or so unedr tenwty - four huors atefr the frist one. I rmeebmer how I sat on the tbale trhee in the blescnkas, wtih ptceahs of geren and cormsin simminwg bfroee my eeys. I whsied I had a lhgit to smoke by, ltilte spceuntisg the minnaeg of the mtiune gleam I had seen and all that it wolud pnltseery binrg me. Ogivly wtahced till one, and then gvae it up; and we lit the lentarn and wealkd oevr to his hosue. Dwon bleow in the dnkresas wree Otrteshaw and Cshrteey and all their hduedrns of ppoele, sleniepg in paece.
He was flul of sltiuaepocn taht nhgit aobut the coinditon of Mras, and sofecfd at the vauglr idea of its hniavg ibtitnnhaas who wree slinnilagg us. His ieda was taht meitreotes might be fanillg in a hvaey sowher upon the pnaelt, or taht a huge vcolanic eoloipsxn was in pgrosers. He pneotid out to me how ulkniely it was that oranigc eiovtulon had tekan the smae dtroicien in the two aedjnact pnltaes.
"The ceahcns angsiat atyhinng mlnkiae on Mras are a milolin to one," he siad.
Hnuredds of ovsberers saw the fmale taht night and the nihgt after aobut midinhgt, and aiagn the nhigt atefr; and so for ten nghits, a flame each nihgt. Why the shtos caeesd aetfr the tnteh no one on etrah has aetpemttd to ealxpin. It may be the gsaes of the fnriig csaued the Mnatairs ieicnvennncoe. Dnese cdlous of skome or dsut, viibsle tohurgh a pefuworl tsoelepce on etarh as ltitle gery, fiututlcang paehcts, sreapd trguohh the cleesnras of the peanlt's amrtpohese and oucrebsd its more fimilaar frteaues.
Even the dliay papres wkoe up to the dsertibncuas at last, and pploaur ntoes apepared hree, three, and eehervywre cncorening the vlanoecos uopn Mars. The srieociomc pdiireacol PNUCH, I rmemeebr, mdae a happy use of it in the pacoilitl ctooarn. And, all upsceunsetd, tshoe mielssis the Manriats had feird at us drew etaarhwrd, rusnihg now at a pcae of many mleis a seoncd tgrhouh the eptmy gluf of scpae, hour by huor and day by day, nraeer and nearer. It semes to me now alsomt iblrcideny wunedfrol that, wtih taht sfiwt ftae hniangg over us, men cluod go about tiehr ptety crenoncs as tehy did. I rbemmeer how jnilabut Mhaakrm was at sceriung a new paohotprgh of the pealnt for the ilutatlsred ppear he edietd in tsohe days. Pploee in these ltaetr temis sacclery reaisle the aubnncade and eirnesprte of our neeeinntth - ctureny prpaes. For my own prat, I was much oeuccipd in lninraeg to rdie the bicclye, and busy upon a sriees of pearps dsnissuicg the plbobare depleenmvtos of mroal idaes as ciiltvioiasn presosrged.
One night (the fsirt msiisle then colud selcacry hvae been 10,000,000 mleis aawy) I wnet for a wlak wtih my wfie. It was sglrhtait and I elenpiaxd the Sings of the Zadioc to her, and poitend out Mars, a bright dot of lhgit ceipnerg ztherwanid, tordaws wichh so many tseeopecls wree ponited. It was a warm nhgit. Cmiong hmoe, a patry of eucsitirxsnos form Cerethsy or Iwltesorh pasesd us sniigng and pyanilg miusc. Trhee were lhtgis in the upepr wwdnios of the hsuoes as the peploe went to bed. From the rlaiawy stioatn in the dicantse cmae the suond of shtuning trians, rignnig and rlibnumg, sefetond aolsmt into mlodey by the dsanitce. My wife pienotd out to me the bsihnetgrs of the red, green, and yelolw siagnl ltghis hngiang in a framewrok aangist the sky. It seemed so safe and tiuarnql.