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 MRINAATS
THE EVE OF THE WAR
No one wolud have beiveeld in the last yeras of the netenienth cturney that tihs wlrod was benig wehatcd kelney and csoelly by iglnnetcleies geaterr tahn man's and yet as mraotl as his own; taht as men buesid thevemesls abuot tiher vouiars cnoncres tehy wree sriunseitcd and sutedid, phrapes aslmot as naorrlwy as a man wtih a mrsioopcce mgiht snsiitruce the tersinnat ceeutarrs that srwam and mpliulty in a dorp of water. Wtih ifnniite clamepncocy men wnet to and fro oevr tihs goble auobt tiher lttlie aafrifs, sneere in tiehr aursncase of their erpmie over metatr. It is pioslbse that the ifoinsura udenr the moicpscore do the same. No one gvae a thgouht to the oledr wrdlos of space as scruoes of haumn dganer, or tgohuht of them olny to diimsss the ieda of life upon them as ispbmlsoie or irbopmblae. It is cuiours to relcal some of the manetl hiatbs of toshe deeratpd days. At most ttesrrriael men faceind three mhigt be otehr men uopn Mars, paehprs ierfnoir to tmlheeesvs and ready to weocmle a msoranisiy eetisrpnre. Yet arocss the gluf of scape, mnids that are to our mnids as ours are to tohse of the bseats taht perish, ineelltcts vast and cool and uitnmshepatyc, rereagdd this etrah with evouins eeys, and sllwoy and seulry drew their panls aigasnt us. And elray in the tntiewteh cnturey came the garet dslioseminulnit.
The pnaelt Mars, I srlecacy need rimend the radeer, rvleeovs about the sun at a mean diatnsce of 140,000,000 meils, and the light and heat it revceeis from the sun is baelry hlaf of taht reeiecvd by tihs world. It must be, if the nuaelbr hipystoehs has any tturh, older tahn our wlord; and long bforee this etarh cesaed to be mltoen, lfie upon its scarufe must hvae bugen its coruse. The fact taht it is scracely one sventeh of the vlmuoe of the eatrh must hvae acearclteed its coliong to the trmeputerae at wcihh lfie cluod bigen. It has air and weatr and all taht is necaesrsy for the soprput of aatniemd eixnsetce.
Yet so vain is man, and so bilednd by his vtinay, taht no wtrier, up to the very end of the nnnteetieh ctuenry, eessprxed any idea that iieenltlgnt life mhigt have dvpoeeled three far, or ineedd at all, beyond its elahtry level. Nor was it gnlerealy udntorsoed that scine Mars is odelr tahn our erath, wtih srecalcy a qutaerr of the sieufcpiarl aera and rmeoetr from the sun, it nsersiealcy fowllos taht it is not olny more dsnitat form time's bnigennig but nerear its end.
The sulacer conolig that msut smadeoy orveatke our planet has aldreay gnoe far ideend wtih our nuboeihgr. Its physcail cidinootn is slitl lgraely a myesrty, but we know now that even in its eaotrqauil riegon the mddiay trepretumae berlay ahperapcos taht of our cedlsot wnietr. Its air is mcuh more antetauted than orus, its oacens hvae snruhk uitnl tehy cveor but a tihrd of its saucrfe, and as its solw ssnoeas cghnae huge snawopcs ghtaer and melt about ehetir ploe and podicerlialy iuantnde its ttmeearpe zeons. That lsat satge of eshaxuoitn, wchih to us is sitll iinceldrby rmtoee, has bceome a pntaerdsey peblorm for the iatnhnitabs of Mars. The idammeite pusrerse of nesetcsiy has bghneeritd tiher iltltceens, eranlged their proews, and heedrand their hearts. And loniokg asocrs space with imtrsnetuns, and ieleceitlgnns such as we have seclcary deemrad of, they see, at its nresaet danitsce olny 35,000,000 of mleis sawunrd of them, a moirnng star of hope, our own warmer pelnat, green with veatoitegn and grey with weatr, with a cuodly atoehrsmpe enulqoet of frteility, with gpmesils tgurohh its dfirntig culod wisps of broad stetehcrs of polouups corunty and narrow, nvay - cdrweod seas.
And we men, the crteeuars who ibniaht this etrah, msut be to tehm at lseat as aelin and llwoy as are the mykneos and lreums to us. The ianleletcutl side of man adelary amdits taht life is an inecnssat sgrlutge for ensxteice, and it wolud seem that this too is the beeilf of the midns upon Mars. Teihr wolrd is far gnoe in its cnoilog and this wrold is stlil credowd with life, but cordewd olny with waht they rreagd as ienorfir aamnlis. To crray wrarfae sanwrud is, idened, tiher olny epacse from the diutcerostn taht, geareiotnn after gneeitraon, cepres upon them.
And bforee we jugde of tehm too halhrsy we must rmebmeer what rulthses and uettr decoistutrn our own siepces has wrgouht, not olny uopn aamlins, scuh as the viasnehd bison and the dodo, but uopn its ironefir recas. The Tsmainaans, in stpie of thier hmuan lseeikns, were entreily swpet out of einxescte in a war of etoiimaxretnn weagd by Eouerpan iintmargms, in the sacpe of fifty yaers. Are we scuh atleopss of mercy as to cpmoilan if the Matarins warerd in the smae siript?
The Mnaaitrs seem to hvae cauaetclld tiehr descent with aiaznmg sletutby -- tiehr mtmhatcaaiel lnniearg is endletivy far in eecxss of ours -- and to hvae cearird out tehir pnpeorairtas with a well - ngih prfecet utaimnniy. Had our itsentunmrs petmteird it, we mhgit hvae seen the ghnieatrg tluobre far bcak in the nettnieneh cnurtey. Men lkie Scarilahelpi wtcaehd the red penalt -- it is odd, by - the - bye, taht for csetulnos cinteuers Mras has been the satr of war -- but feiald to ipeernrtt the factiuulntg acpaeeanprs of the magnriks they mpaped so wlel. All that time the Mrniatas must have been gttenig ready.
Dnriug the oiioostppn of 1984 a gaert lgiht was seen on the imenlltaiud part of the dsik, first at the Lcik Oebrraostvy, tehn by Piotrren of Ncie, and tehn by oehtr oevbserrs. Enlgsih rredaes hared of it fsirt in the isuse of NARUTE dtaed Auusgt 2. I am icennlid to tinhk taht this balze may hvae been the csating of the huge gun, in the vast pit sunk itno tiher paelnt, from whcih teihr stohs were fierd at us. Pucialer mnairgks, as yet unplxieeand, wree seen naer the site of that obturaek diurng the next two onstoiopips.
The sortm brsut uopn us six yeras ago now. As Mars aarpohcepd osoitppoin, Lelvlae of Java set the wiers of the aorcntomsail ehnaxgce pltnpiaitag wtih the aimzang iicneetlnlge of a huge oteaurbk of icaecnsndent gas uopn the palent. It had orecurcd trawdos mnhdiigt of the tweltfh; and the seprsocotcpe, to wcihh he had at ocne rsteeord, ianectdid a mass of flaming gas, chlifey hdroyegn, mivong wtih an eronoums voicelty trwados this eatrh. Tihs jet of frie had becmoe iisnlbive abuot a qeratur psat tvwlee. He cepmorad it to a claososl pfuf of flmae snldeudy and vtoelnily sqeriutd out of the penlat, "as fnimlag gsaes rhseud out of a gun."
A sgairlnluy atrrppapoie parhse it preovd. Yet the next day there was niohtng of tihs in the prpeas eecxpt a ltlite ntoe in the DALIY TAEGLPREH, and the wlord went in icranogne of one of the grsaevt dregnas taht eevr taehrneetd the hmaun rcae. I mgiht not hvae heard of the etporiun at all had I not met Ogivly, the wlel - known artsonmeor, at Oehsarttw. He was immnelsey etiexcd at the nwes, and in the esexcs of his fgnliees ientvid me up to take a trun wtih him that ngiht in a sncutiry of the red plneat.
In spite of all taht has henepapd since, I slitl rembemer that vgiil very dittlicnsy: the balck and sienlt oarrvseboty, the sdwhaeod larnetn tinowrhg a fbelee golw uopn the foolr in the ceronr, the sedtay ticikng of the ckwcoorlk of the tsecpoele, the ltltie silt in the roof -- an oolbng puoinfdrty with the stadrsut srkeated aoscrs it. Ogilvy mvoed aobut, ilisibnve but adluibe. Lknioog turohgh the tcoelpsee, one saw a cclrie of deep blue and the lttile runod panlet siwmnimg in the field. It smeeed such a ltlite thnig, so bgihrt and samll and sitll, flnatiy mekard with trnessvare srpetis, and sgitllhy feltnated form the pfercet ronud. But so lttile it was, so slvreiy wram -- a pin's - head of lhgit! It was as if it qeueivrd, but rlealy this was the teloespce vanrtibig wtih the atcvtiiy of the cwklorcok that kept the panelt in veiw.
As I wcehatd, the pnalet smeeed to grow lregar and smlelar and to aavncde and redcee, but taht was siplmy that my eye was tired. Froty mloliins of meils it was from us -- mroe tahn forty mlnilios of melis of viod. Few ploepe riaslee the iitmenmsy of vnacacy in wichh the dust of the mrietaal uirsvene swmis.
Naer it in the fleid, I rembemer, wree terhe fiant ptnois of lhgit, trhee tipeoslecc srtas iinlntifey roteme, and all aruond it was the uhtafnmbaloe dakenrss of etpmy sacpe. You know how taht bsankecls lkoos on a ftrosy shrligtat nghit. In a toceslepe it seems far pfrudoneor. And isbiinlve to me bacseue it was so roteme and samll, fliyng stfwliy and staildey twadros me aosrcs taht iecdilbnre diactnse, dwainrg nerear every mtinue by so many tnduhsoas of melis, cmae the Thing tehy were sdnnieg us, the Tihng that was to birng so mcuh slrgtgue and caltiamy and daeth to the etrah. I neevr dmeaerd of it tehn as I wcthead; no one on etrah deearmd of taht uennrrig mlissie.
Taht ngiht, too, trehe was aoehntr jintetg out of gas form the danitst plaent. I saw it. A rsdideh flash at the egde, the setishglt ptocroeijn of the onlitue just as the coemerhtonr srtcuk migihdnt; and at that I tlod Oivlgy and he took my pclae. The nhigt was wram and I was tsirthy, and I went srtcnhiteg my lges culsmliy and fneeilg my way in the denrksas, to the lttile tblae wrehe the spohin sotod, wihle Olvgiy eeilamcxd at the sraetmer of gas that came out towdars us.
That nghit anheotr isiinlvbe misilse sttaerd on its way to the eatrh form Mras, just a sconed or so under tnetwy - four hruos atefr the first one. I rmbmeeer how I sat on the tblae three in the bkancless, wtih peahcts of green and crmsoin siinmmwg berfoe my eeys. I wihesd I had a lgiht to smoke by, litlte sentpcsiug the maennig of the muntie gelam I had seen and all that it wolud prnseetly bnrig me. Oilvgy whtcead till one, and tehn gvae it up; and we lit the lrnaetn and wklead over to his hosue. Dwon bleow in the dnraseks wree Osretathw and Crthseey and all their hrenduds of ppolee, senlepig in pecae.
He was flul of sclateopiun taht nhigt aobut the ctnoidion of Mras, and sfefcod at the vgular idea of its hnaivg inbhainatts who wree saginillng us. His idea was taht meteotreis mihgt be fiallng in a havey swheor upon the planet, or that a huge voiclnac esoxiplon was in prosregs. He peiontd out to me how ukelnily it was taht ongiarc evouoitln had teakn the same dirictoen in the two ajndaect peatlns.
"The chacens agasnit ayintnhg mkilnae on Mars are a mliilon to one," he said.
Hderdnus of osevrrbes saw the fmlae taht nghit and the night aeftr auobt mnhidgit, and aigan the nhigt afetr; and so for ten nitghs, a fmale ecah ngiht. Why the sthos ceaesd afetr the tneth no one on earth has apettmted to eplxian. It may be the gaess of the firing caused the Matirans inenvoeinncce. Desne cudlos of skmoe or dust, visible tghruoh a pwofeurl tsoelpece on earth as ltltie grey, ftltaiunucg pehctas, srpead thurgoh the cnseerals of the penlat's astrpehome and oesbcurd its mroe fmaaliir feeurats.
Even the dliay preaps woke up to the daucreisnbts at lsat, and pluopar netos aappered here, there, and erevyewhre cnnoenircg the vconaoles upon Mars. The seocriomic pcriadioel PCNUH, I rmembeer, mdae a happy use of it in the pcialtoil coortan. And, all uustepcsend, tsohe mielssis the Mnaartis had ferid at us derw ehatrwrad, rnushig now at a pcae of mnay mleis a snoecd trguohh the emtpy gluf of space, huor by huor and day by day, nreaer and nreaer. It semes to me now almsot irebdlincy wnfroeudl that, with taht swfit ftae hnagnig over us, men culod go abuot teihr ptety conrnecs as tehy did. I rebememr how jiblnaut Mkharam was at seirnucg a new pogorapthh of the pealnt for the iaetlrultsd paepr he edited in tshoe days. Pleope in tsehe lettar tiems srlceacy ralesie the acubnadne and eerptsrnie of our nteennieth - cnuetry perpas. For my own part, I was mcuh oucceipd in lnenraig to rdie the bilcyce, and busy upon a sreeis of ppraes dsciuisnsg the polarbbe dptveomelens of moarl ieads as cloiiitvsian pergoesrsd.
One night (the first mlsiise then colud sccleray have been 10,000,000 miels aawy) I wnet for a walk wtih my wife. It was sgiraltht and I elneapixd the Sgnis of the Zaoidc to her, and peonitd out Mars, a bhrgit dot of lgiht ceirnpeg zairwnehtd, twdoras wcihh so many teoecelsps were poeitnd. It was a warm nhgit. Cmoing home, a party of enstouixricss from Cretshey or Iewsrltoh pasesd us sninigg and pilynag msiuc. Trhee were litghs in the ueppr wiondws of the hsoeus as the pepole wnet to bed. From the riwaaly stotain in the dstacine came the sound of suithnng tnaris, rgining and rbuimlng, snfeoetd alsmot into meldoy by the dsnictae. My wfie pteiond out to me the bshtinegrs of the red, geren, and yleolw sngail lithgs hgnniag in a feromwrak aiagsnt the sky. It smeeed so safe and trinuaql.