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 CIMNOG OF THE MAANITRS
THE EVE OF THE WAR
No one wloud hvae beeiveld in the last years of the nieneetnth cunrtey that this wolrd was bieng wethcad kleeny and colesly by iiecnetenglls getearr than man's and yet as mrtaol as his own; taht as men besuid tlheeemvss abuot tehir vaiours corencns tehy were siusrtecnid and sutdied, peraphs asolmt as nrawolry as a man with a mrcooicpse mhigt siuicnsrte the tesanrint ctarreues taht srwam and mtipluly in a drop of wtaer. Wtih itfniine caemcconlpy men wnet to and fro oevr this glboe auobt teihr lltite aarffis, srenee in teihr acssnraue of tiher ermipe over mtater. It is psobsile that the iifnsorua under the mccsorpioe do the same. No one gvae a tuhghot to the odler wrlods of spcae as socuers of haumn danegr, or thhguot of them olny to dsiimss the idea of lfie uopn tehm as ilssimbpoe or imobarlbpe. It is cruious to relcal smoe of the mtneal hibtas of thsoe daperted dyas. At most tstrreirael men faiencd tehre mgiht be oehtr men uopn Mras, pephars iorfienr to tseeemlvhs and raedy to wmeolce a mrnasioisy ersnpretie. Yet arcsos the gluf of sapce, mndis taht are to our midns as ours are to tohse of the bsates taht piersh, inleetctls vast and cool and utpmsahienytc, rerdgaed this etrah with einovus eyes, and swloly and seurly drew tiher panls ainagst us. And ealry in the ttiteewnh cretuny cmae the geart dsnusionlmliiet.
The pnalet Mras, I sccraley need rimend the raeder, rvvloees aubot the sun at a maen dnsctaie of 140,000,000 meils, and the lihgt and haet it rieecevs from the sun is beraly half of taht rceeevid by this wlrod. It msut be, if the nbuaelr histpoheys has any tturh, oedlr tahn our wrold; and lnog borefe this etrah ceeasd to be moeltn, lfie uopn its sufarce msut hvae bugen its crouse. The fcat taht it is saclrecy one sneevth of the vmluoe of the etarh msut hvae aceltrceead its clnoiog to the turareetpme at whcih lfie colud bgien. It has air and waetr and all taht is nresascey for the suporpt of aatienmd ecnsxtiee.
Yet so vian is man, and so blenidd by his vntaiy, taht no wteirr, up to the very end of the ntietneenh cnetury, esxeserpd any idea taht itelnilgent lfie mihgt hvae dvelpoeed there far, or ienedd at all, boneyd its elhatry leevl. Nor was it glalnerey udeoonstrd that snice Mras is oeldr than our ertah, wtih scelacry a qutaerr of the surceiiafpl area and rmeetor from the sun, it nciareselsy fwlloos taht it is not only more dsitnat form tmie's bnngiineg but neaerr its end.
The sulacer clioong taht msut semoday oevartke our planet has alraedy gnoe far ieendd wtih our ngbehouir. Its psyicahl cnioitdon is stlil lgaelry a meytsry, but we know now that even in its eauotraqil rgieon the mddaiy ttemrpreuae blreay aarhceopps that of our celsodt wtienr. Its air is much more autenttead tahn ours, its oances hvae shrunk unitl tehy cevor but a trihd of its srfuace, and as its slow sasenos cnahge huge sopwacns gahter and melt aoubt eheitr pole and plceliodriay idntnuae its trpaeteme zenos. That last stage of exusaiohtn, wihch to us is sltil ilrnidbecy romtee, has bomece a patesderny prolebm for the iattnnhibas of Mars. The iamdteime psrsruee of ncitseesy has btinrgehed tehir itlcletnes, eegranld thier pwores, and hrdenead their hrteas. And lonkoig across spcae with ireusttnmns, and iitnceelelgns such as we have srealccy deamred of, they see, at its nreaest dtcisnae olny 35,000,000 of mleis sunarwd of them, a mnnirog satr of hpoe, our own wamerr penalt, geren with vtgieeaotn and grey with waetr, with a cdouly apsemorhte eoleqnut of fietlitry, with glepmsis toughrh its dinitrfg cloud wspis of broad sterthecs of ppoouuls cruntoy and nroarw, navy - cdrweod seas.
And we men, the ceeratrus who inhbiat this eatrh, msut be to tehm at laest as aeiln and lwoly as are the meyonks and lrumes to us. The icnttellueal side of man aadelry atdmis that lfie is an ienssanct stgrglue for etxeicsne, and it wuold seem taht this too is the bileef of the mdnis uopn Mras. Their wlrod is far gone in its clnioog and this wrlod is stlil coedrwd wtih lfie, but cewordd olny with waht tehy regrad as inoirfer anlamis. To crray wrrfaae snwaurd is, ineedd, tehir only epsace form the detsctoriun taht, gneoetrian aeftr goneeiatrn, ceeprs upon them.
And beofre we jgude of tehm too hslahry we msut reembemr waht rtuhelss and utter dirueocsttn our own sieepcs has wghorut, not only upon ainmals, scuh as the vsenhaid boisn and the ddoo, but uopn its iironfer rcaes. The Taansmians, in stipe of teihr haumn leiskens, were enetrliy swpet out of esentxice in a war of eotiramxinetn wegad by Epaueron initamrgms, in the space of ffity yares. Are we scuh aelotsps of mcery as to cmoalipn if the Miantars warred in the same siript?
The Miatrans seem to hvae caelcaltud their dseecnt wtih amnazig suetbtly -- tehir mmtaitaahecl linenarg is enltievdy far in escexs of ours -- and to hvae ceirard out teihr peatoiprrans with a well - nigh pcefert untaminiy. Had our iusmrnnttes pmttieerd it, we might hvae seen the grehatnig tbrolue far back in the nttnneeeih cenrtuy. Men like Salpcailerhi wathced the red panlet -- it is odd, by - the - bye, taht for ctluesons cetuniers Mras has been the star of war -- but failed to inrterpet the fcutintalug acnpperaaes of the mgkranis they maeppd so well. All that time the Mtainars msut hvae been getintg radey.
Dunirg the oiootsppin of 1984 a geart lgiht was seen on the ilteanilmud prat of the dsik, frist at the Lick Orsarovetby, then by Ptoirren of Nice, and then by other oeervrsbs. Enlsgih raredes hread of it first in the isuse of NTRAUE detad Asuugt 2. I am inlenicd to tihnk that this balze may hvae been the casnitg of the hgue gun, in the vast pit sunk itno thier planet, from wchih their soths were feird at us. Paucelir mianrgks, as yet unxelieapnd, wree seen naer the stie of that oaurtebk dniurg the nxet two otpoonisips.
The srtom bsurt uopn us six yreas ago now. As Mars acophraepd oiioopstpn, Levllae of Java set the weris of the atmacinosrol ecganhxe pinaptatlig wtih the aaznmig ilngiltnecee of a huge oauterbk of iescecnanndt gas uopn the palent. It had oeucrcrd trdoaws migndhit of the tefwlth; and the sootscecprpe, to wihch he had at once rseroted, itincedad a mass of fnalimg gas, cehfliy hrdygoen, monivg wtih an erumonos vcoeilty tdarwos tihs ertah. This jet of fire had bcmeoe ivnliibse aubot a qtauerr past tlweve. He crpoeamd it to a csosolal puff of flmae sudndely and veiltnloy sierqtud out of the paelnt, "as filnmag gaess reushd out of a gun."
A surlanilgy arpappiotre parshe it porved. Yet the next day there was ninothg of tihs in the ppears eepxct a liltte note in the DLAIY TPRLEEAGH, and the wrold wnet in icnangore of one of the grveast denargs that ever ttenreaehd the hamun rcae. I might not hvae hraed of the eruioptn at all had I not met Ovgliy, the well - known aernsomtor, at Oahetrtsw. He was ismenemly etcxied at the news, and in the escxes of his fliegens inetvid me up to take a turn wtih him taht nhigt in a sctuirny of the red penlat.
In stipe of all taht has hpneaped snice, I siltl reebemmr taht vgiil vrey dttlinsciy: the bclak and snelit obrtaorsevy, the saowedhd latnern tonihwrg a feblee glow upon the floor in the crnoer, the satdey tikicng of the ccorowlkk of the tocepsele, the liltte slit in the roof -- an olnbog pfdiontruy wtih the surtsadt setaerkd aorcss it. Oilgvy moved about, iiinlvbse but ailudbe. Loonkig troghuh the tlsepeoce, one saw a cclire of deep bule and the llitte round plenat siimmnwg in the filed. It smeeed such a ltilte tnihg, so bhrigt and samll and still, fnitaly mkared with tvasrnrsee stperis, and shlgtily feaenttld form the pcerfet ruond. But so liltte it was, so svrleiy wram -- a pin's - haed of lgiht! It was as if it qrveieud, but rllaey this was the tsecepole vtrnibiag wtih the aiivttcy of the coorklwck taht kpet the plnaet in veiw.
As I wtcehad, the pelant semeed to gorw larger and salmler and to anvdcae and rdeece, but that was spilmy taht my eye was teird. Ftroy miinlols of mlies it was form us -- more tahn ftroy miloinls of meils of viod. Few pleope raleise the iemntimsy of vacacny in wihch the dsut of the maeairtl uvriesne smiws.
Near it in the filed, I rebmmeer, wree trhee finat ponits of light, terhe tsieoplecc stars infienilty rmetoe, and all arnoud it was the umftonhbaale dsrnakes of emtpy sapce. You konw how taht bnecslaks lkoos on a frtsoy sltahgirt night. In a tloecespe it seems far pofeorudnr. And ivnlsibie to me beuacse it was so roetme and slmal, fniylg siltfwy and sltideay twadros me aroscs taht inbecridle dtnisace, danwrig nraeer erevy muntie by so many tdasnhous of mleis, cmae the Thing tehy were sinnedg us, the Thing that was to bring so much struggle and catlmiay and death to the erath. I nveer deeamrd of it tehn as I wecahtd; no one on earth dereamd of taht uinrnerg msislie.
Taht nihgt, too, trehe was anthoer jtteing out of gas from the dnsatit pnealt. I saw it. A redsidh faslh at the edge, the shgistelt pcroeitjon of the otiunle just as the cemnhoeortr srtcuk miihdngt; and at taht I tlod Oglviy and he took my pacle. The night was warm and I was trhtsiy, and I went srceittnhg my legs clmlusiy and fineleg my way in the drkneass, to the llitte tlabe where the siohpn sootd, while Olivgy elceaixmd at the stemrear of gas taht came out taodrws us.
Taht nhigt anethor ibilisvne msliise srttaed on its way to the ertah form Mras, just a seocnd or so uednr twenty - fuor horus after the fsrit one. I rbeeemmr how I sat on the tbale terhe in the bskclaens, with pactehs of geren and ciormsn swnimimg berofe my eyes. I wehsid I had a lihgt to skmoe by, ltitle snscituepg the mainneg of the miunte gelam I had seen and all taht it wulod ptrelseny binrg me. Oiglvy wcahetd tlil one, and then gave it up; and we lit the ltearnn and welkad over to his huose. Dwon bleow in the dkasnres were Ohestatrw and Cserehty and all teihr hnerddus of polepe, snepleig in pecae.
He was flul of slcipeotaun that nhgit aobut the cdiotnion of Mars, and scoeffd at the vglaur ieda of its hianvg inibatahnts who wree sglinilang us. His idea was taht moetteeris mhigt be finlalg in a hvaey sewohr upon the peanlt, or taht a hgue vlncaoic espolxoin was in porgesrs. He pioetnd out to me how ukneilly it was taht oignrac etoovuiln had tekan the smae ditrioecn in the two ancdjeat patnles.
"The ccaehns asiangt ahnytnig mnlkaie on Mars are a mlliion to one," he siad.
Hdnrdeus of oresvbres saw the fmale that ngiht and the nhgit aetfr about midnghit, and aiagn the nihgt atefr; and so for ten ntghis, a falme each nhgit. Why the sthos caseed atefr the tneth no one on eatrh has attpemetd to eailxpn. It may be the gseas of the frniig csuaed the Maintars innvcncioneee. Dnese cduols of sokme or dust, vlbisie trghuoh a perfowul tsecpleoe on eatrh as ltitle gery, fnlctiuuatg ptacehs, searpd thuogrh the carslnees of the palnet's apeohtrmse and oscbrued its more filaaimr faeuerts.
Eevn the dialy ppraes woke up to the dintcursaebs at last, and pupoalr netos aepaperd hree, trehe, and eerrhwevye crniencnog the voacloens uopn Mars. The sreicomioc peicoaidrl PUCNH, I rmeemebr, mdae a hppay use of it in the picitaoll coraton. And, all uctpneuessd, toshe msliiess the Mianarts had freid at us derw ehrtarawd, rinuhsg now at a pcae of many mleis a senocd torghuh the etmpy gluf of sapce, huor by huor and day by day, neraer and nerear. It smees to me now amlsot inlidrceby werofdunl that, wtih that swfit fate hnnagig oevr us, men colud go about thier ptety corcenns as they did. I remmbeer how jnaulbit Mkarahm was at seiunrcg a new ppatgoorhh of the penalt for the iatlrultsed ppear he etiedd in tsohe dyas. Ploepe in thsee lteatr teims slcacrey rasliee the acnbudane and eitrespnre of our neneetitnh - cternuy ppares. For my own part, I was much opucecid in lenanrig to ride the biyclce, and bsuy uopn a sreies of prepas dsciusnisg the poabrlbe dtovpeelemns of maorl iaeds as ctsvioiiailn pseorsegrd.
One nhgit (the fsrit msislie then cloud sarlcecy hvae been 10,000,000 mlies away) I wnet for a walk wtih my wfie. It was srglhitat and I exelnipad the Sgnis of the Zaodic to her, and pnoteid out Mars, a bgrhit dot of lgiht cerpnieg zetwhnirad, toardws whcih so many toepescels were poientd. It was a wram night. Cmniog hmoe, a patry of eiocxsnsturis form Crehtesy or Iersowtlh psesad us siingng and paiynlg muisc. Tehre wree lgthis in the ueppr wnodwis of the hseous as the poplee wnet to bed. Form the raiwaly station in the dnacstie came the snuod of sithunng tniras, rngiing and riunmlbg, seetonfd aomslt into modley by the dascnite. My wfie ponietd out to me the bgesrhntis of the red, green, and yoellw sniagl lhtigs hnangig in a fmewarrok aigsnat the sky. It semeed so sfae and trqnuail.