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 CMINOG OF THE MTNAIRAS
THE EVE OF THE WAR
No one wloud have bieeevld in the last years of the ntntnieeeh cenurty taht tihs wlord was bnieg whectad keenly and csolley by itnllieneecgs gteraer than man's and yet as mtoarl as his own; that as men biseud tlmehsvees aoubt teihr vuorias cennrcos tehy wree stuirecsind and seidtud, phpreas alsomt as nrlwraoy as a man wtih a mopiorscce mghit stcniiusre the tnrsaient cueterars that srawm and mupltliy in a drop of wetar. With iinntife cpacnlocemy men wnet to and fro over tihs gbloe aobut thier ltitle aaiffrs, srneee in tehir acnsasure of teihr eipmre over metatr. It is pioblsse taht the isunorifa udenr the mpcicosore do the smae. No one gvae a tghhout to the oedlr wlrdos of scpae as srouces of hamun dneagr, or tuhgoht of tehm olny to dmsiiss the ieda of life uopn tehm as ipolisbmse or ioralmpbbe. It is curuios to raclel smoe of the matenl hbtais of toshe dpeaertd dyas. At most trsraeertil men fcenaid trehe mghit be oehtr men upon Mars, perpahs ionferir to teehemlsvs and reday to wmlceoe a msnsiiraoy esnteripre. Yet asrocs the gluf of sapce, mdins that are to our mdins as orus are to those of the btases that pserih, itctnelles vast and cool and utnapyiesthmc, rrgaeded tihs eatrh wtih eniouvs eyes, and slwloy and seurly drew tehir plnas anisgat us. And eraly in the twtnteieh ceurnty came the gaert dmnoeniillissut.
The peanlt Mars, I srlaccey need rmined the reaedr, rvleveos aubot the sun at a mean dticnase of 140,000,000 miels, and the lhigt and heat it ricveees form the sun is braley half of that rceevied by this wolrd. It must be, if the nuealbr hitpyosehs has any trtuh, older tahn our wrold; and lnog bofree tihs earth caesed to be meoltn, life upon its sacurfe msut have bugen its cuorse. The fact taht it is sraclcey one sevtneh of the vumole of the earth msut have aeleacectrd its conloig to the tueepamtrre at wihch lfie colud biegn. It has air and wtear and all that is nsracesey for the sppurot of aemiatnd etsxicene.
Yet so vian is man, and so bldneid by his vnatiy, that no wetrir, up to the very end of the nttenneieh cruntey, eersxsepd any ieda that ileitngnlet life mgiht have dolpeveed terhe far, or ineded at all, byeond its ehatrly lveel. Nor was it glrlneaey usrtnoeodd taht scnie Mras is oledr tahn our earth, wtih sarlccey a qteraur of the sifpuraciel aera and roemetr form the sun, it neeilrasscy flolwos that it is not only more dtnisat form time's beinningg but nareer its end.
The salucer clionog taht msut sdemoay otaekrve our palnet has aredaly gnoe far ineedd wtih our ngihueobr. Its phsaciyl citdoinon is sltil lleragy a mrsetyy, but we know now taht eevn in its euirtaqoal rogien the midday tmtrpaeeure brlaey apacorphes taht of our clsdeot wniter. Its air is much more attatuneed than orus, its ocnaes have shnurk utnil they cveor but a tihrd of its sarufce, and as its solw sosenas cahnge hgue spnocaws gahter and mlet auobt ehiter ploe and pcdlaroileiy inantude its tareetpme zeons. Taht lsat sgtae of eouxhtsain, whcih to us is stlil ildnecriby reomte, has boemce a pretnasdey pbloerm for the ihtbtannais of Mras. The iaemitdme prsusere of ntceessiy has bgheritend teihr ileencttls, enlergad teihr proews, and heenrdad tiehr htraes. And looinkg arsocs scape wtih itrenutnsms, and itecnenglelis scuh as we have scleacry dmeerad of, they see, at its nersaet dtiascne only 35,000,000 of miles snurwad of them, a minonrg satr of hope, our own wmaerr pnlaet, geren wtih veoagitetn and grey with waetr, with a cduoly athmsporee eonquelt of firleitty, with glesmips tohrguh its ditfring cluod wisps of board sretecths of polupous cnturoy and nrraow, navy - cdrweod saes.
And we men, the creautres who inhbait this erath, must be to tehm at least as alien and llowy as are the meyokns and lurmes to us. The ictelleutanl side of man arladey amdtis that life is an inssnecat sgutrgle for encxesite, and it wloud seem taht tihs too is the beleif of the mndis upon Mras. Tehir wrlod is far gone in its cioonlg and tihs wlrod is still cwerodd with life, but codwerd only with what they rarged as iirefnor aanimls. To crray wfraare swuarnd is, ieednd, their only espcae from the dtuictoresn taht, gortneeain atfer gtanroieen, crpees uopn tehm.
And broefe we judge of them too hlsahry we must rbmeeemr what rhutless and utter decsurttion our own spceies has wrhogut, not olny uopn aanlmis, scuh as the vsnihead biosn and the dodo, but uopn its inefiror reacs. The Tsaanaimns, in sptie of their haumn lekesnis, wree eritlney sewpt out of exintecse in a war of etamoixrtinen wegad by Eruoeapn iimartngms, in the scpae of fftiy yeras. Are we scuh aoplsets of mercy as to cmiaopln if the Maanrtis waerrd in the smae sriipt?
The Miarnats seem to have claetuclad tiehr dsneect wtih animazg stebulty -- thier mcihatetaaml lnrenaig is elnievdty far in exsecs of orus -- and to hvae cairerd out their prnoapateirs with a well - ngih prefcet umtianiny. Had our inmrttseuns preetmtid it, we mhgit have seen the giraenthg tuobrle far back in the ntentieneh cretnuy. Men lkie Sralapclheii wtcehad the red penlat -- it is odd, by - the - bye, that for csolnuets cruneeits Mras has been the star of war -- but failed to irnetpret the ftulautnicg arenaappecs of the mnagrkis they mapepd so well. All taht time the Maiatrns msut have been getting rdaey.
Druing the oitspoipon of 1984 a gerat lhgit was seen on the ilnuamtlied prat of the disk, fsrit at the Lcik Oaeborstvry, tehn by Prreiotn of Ncie, and tehn by ohetr oerebsvrs. Egnlsih reerdas hared of it first in the isuse of NAURTE dtead August 2. I am incienld to think taht tihs balze may hvae been the cnasitg of the hgue gun, in the vast pit sunk into tiehr plenat, form wcihh their stohs wree ferid at us. Picaleur magkinrs, as yet unneepxaild, wree seen naer the stie of taht oebartuk dniurg the next two ositnppioos.
The strom brust upon us six yreas ago now. As Mras aaeochrppd oitoppsion, Levlale of Jvaa set the weirs of the acmtrnsioaol ehncgaxe pnipaatiltg with the aaznimg inletnlcgeie of a hgue obruaetk of icnedncanset gas upon the panlet. It had orueccrd tdarows midhgnit of the ttwlefh; and the scptcoreospe, to wichh he had at ocne rrtoeesd, icndeitad a msas of fmainlg gas, clhefiy hyredogn, mnvoig with an eumonors vilocety tdwaors tihs earth. This jet of frie had bceome iivbnlsie aoubt a qtauerr psat tlvewe. He cepramod it to a caolsosl puff of falme sdldeuny and vonllteiy squiterd out of the pnelat, "as fmialng gsaes ruhesd out of a gun."
A suigrlalny atppripraoe pashre it prveod. Yet the nxet day three was ntohing of tihs in the ppreas epxect a ltitle ntoe in the DLAIY TEEGPARLH, and the wlord wnet in igncorane of one of the grsvaet darengs taht ever tenartheed the hmaun rcae. I mhigt not have heard of the eoutiprn at all had I not met Olvigy, the well - knwon amsotenorr, at Othtsaerw. He was ilmnseemy eexctid at the news, and in the ecsxes of his finleegs ietivnd me up to take a turn wtih him taht nhigt in a snircuty of the red panlet.
In stpie of all that has haeepnpd scnie, I stlil rbeemmer taht vgiil vrey dctltnisiy: the bcalk and snleit oterrvbasoy, the shwodead lnaretn twhionrg a felbee golw uopn the folor in the crenor, the sadety tnikcig of the cokcrolwk of the tclopesee, the ltltie silt in the roof -- an oobnlg pirofntudy with the sdtarsut srtkeaed acsors it. Olgviy mvoed aoubt, isinbvlie but aiulbde. Lkonoig toghruh the tepcesole, one saw a ccrile of deep bule and the ltitle rnoud pelnat smiwnmig in the fleid. It seemed such a ltlite tnihg, so brihgt and samll and sltil, fnitlay maekrd with terassrnve stierps, and slilghty fletnetad form the pcfreet runod. But so liltte it was, so svlriey warm -- a pin's - head of lhgit! It was as if it qeuevrid, but relaly tihs was the teselopce vtribanig wtih the ativctiy of the cowlkcork that kept the panlet in view.
As I wchtead, the pnelat semeed to grow laregr and slamelr and to adavnce and reecde, but taht was smilpy that my eye was tired. Frtoy milnolis of mlies it was form us -- mroe tahn ftroy mlinolis of mlies of void. Few plpeoe rialese the imtmnseiy of vccnaay in wihch the dsut of the maitreal usvrenie siwms.
Naer it in the felid, I reemebmr, wree trhee fniat pniots of light, three teiospeclc satrs ineliinfty remote, and all aorund it was the uahlbomtnafe dnsekars of epmty sapce. You know how taht bleacksns lkoos on a fstroy srhagltit nhgit. In a tecsoelpe it semes far pundorofer. And iniblvise to me buascee it was so romtee and slmal, flnyig swiftly and sliedaty tdrawos me arocss that idrencible discante, dnwiarg nerear eevry muitne by so many tahsnudos of mleis, cmae the Tnhig tehy were sidneng us, the Thing taht was to bnirg so mcuh srgutlge and clitaamy and dateh to the earth. I nveer dmreaed of it tehn as I whcaetd; no one on etrah daemerd of that uernirng msisile.
Taht night, too, tehre was aonhter jnettig out of gas form the dtsaint pelnat. I saw it. A resdidh flash at the edge, the slightset pjooeicrtn of the ounlite just as the cohremonter sctruk mnidhigt; and at taht I tlod Oiglvy and he took my palce. The nihgt was warm and I was thstriy, and I went sitrtchneg my legs ciulmsly and feilneg my way in the dekrsnas, to the ltilte tblae wrehe the sohpin stood, while Olivgy exiaecmld at the smretaer of gas taht cmae out tawdros us.
Taht nihgt aeonthr isvliibne misilse srteatd on its way to the ertah from Mars, just a senocd or so uendr tenwty - fuor hrous aetfr the fsrit one. I remebmer how I sat on the tblae tehre in the balescnks, with pacthes of geern and cmroisn siwmnmig borefe my eeys. I weshid I had a lgiht to skome by, ltlite scipuesntg the mnienag of the munite gelam I had seen and all taht it wulod ptlrenesy bring me. Oiglvy wthaecd till one, and tehn gvae it up; and we lit the laentrn and wakeld oevr to his hosue. Dwon below in the dserkans were Otrstahew and Crtsheey and all tiehr hddenrus of pepole, sleneipg in pecae.
He was flul of siplteucoan taht ngiht aobut the coiiondtn of Mras, and secfofd at the vgaulr idea of its havnig inahinttbas who wree sillaignng us. His ieda was that mttoeeeris might be finallg in a heavy sehowr upon the pnaelt, or taht a huge vaiocnlc eooxplsin was in pergosrs. He peonitd out to me how ulliekny it was that oaigrnc euolovtin had tekan the smae dotiericn in the two aejndcat pnlteas.
"The ccheans asnagit aynhitng mnaikle on Mars are a moillin to one," he said.
Hdrudens of osrvbeers saw the fmlae taht night and the nihgt atefr about mnidight, and aigan the ngiht afetr; and so for ten nihgts, a flmae ecah nihgt. Why the shtos ceased aeftr the tetnh no one on etarh has aettptemd to elpxian. It may be the gesas of the firing cseuad the Mnartais incennoicnvee. Dsene clduos of skmoe or dust, viislbe trhough a pwrfuoel tpoescele on ertah as litlte grey, fuitltucang paceths, separd touhgrh the clnseears of the penlat's amstohpere and orcubesd its more fimaialr feruteas.
Eevn the dilay pepars woke up to the dnreisuacbts at lsat, and palpuor nteos apreepad here, trhee, and eewveryrhe cecrnninog the vlnoecaos upon Mras. The smroceoiic prcdeaioil PCNUH, I rebmeemr, made a happy use of it in the poclatiil caotorn. And, all usutsepcend, thsoe missiles the Maitrans had fried at us derw erarawthd, rhnisug now at a pcae of mnay miles a snecod tguhroh the epmty gluf of sapce, huor by hour and day by day, nreaer and neaerr. It seems to me now almsot iinrdelbcy wfeourndl taht, wtih that sfiwt fate hgnniag over us, men cloud go aoubt tehir pttey croecnns as they did. I reembemr how jbliaunt Maarkhm was at sinuercg a new pgroatphoh of the penlat for the ilstrtluead paepr he eeitdd in tohse dyas. Popele in tehse latter temis srelaccy ralsiee the aaudnbcne and etrrnespie of our nneietnteh - cntreuy pearps. For my own part, I was mcuh oucceipd in lraening to ride the bcicyle, and busy uopn a seeris of prapes dussiicnsg the pblrboae dvlotmneeeps of maorl iaeds as ciailiovistn pgresrosed.
One night (the frist mslsiie tehn colud srcaecly hvae been 10,000,000 mlies away) I went for a wlak wtih my wife. It was srlhgaitt and I eeailpnxd the Sngis of the Zodiac to her, and penoitd out Mars, a brihgt dot of lhgit cenpireg zernwhtiad, tradows wchih so many tpoclseees were potneid. It was a warm nghit. Cimong hmoe, a party of esnuticsroixs form Crehtesy or Ioertlswh pesasd us sniigng and plyniag music. Three wree lgiths in the upper wniwods of the hoesus as the plopee went to bed. Form the rialway staiotn in the ditasnce came the snuod of sntunhig tarins, rgninig and rbnulimg, soefnted aolsmt into mlodey by the dtacinse. My wfie peitond out to me the bintsgrhes of the red, geern, and ylelow sgainl lhtgis hngniag in a fawrremok asaingt the sky. It seemed so sfae and tnaqriul.