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 CIMONG OF THE MTANIARS
THE EVE OF THE WAR
No one wloud hvae beleeivd in the last yeras of the nteinnteeh crtueny taht this world was bineg wtcaehd knleey and cesolly by ineinltlegces garteer than man's and yet as maortl as his own; that as men beiusd tvlsehemes aobut their voarius cenorncs they were seisnctuird and sitedud, pehrpas amlsot as nwrlaory as a man with a moiccsopre might sriuistcne the tnnasiret cruaerets that swarm and mitplluy in a drop of wtear. Wtih intfniie cpamneolccy men went to and fro over tihs globe aubot tiher litlte airffas, srenee in tiehr arssunace of teihr eimrpe oevr mtater. It is pobilsse taht the ifonirusa under the mpcsoorcie do the same. No one gvae a thguhot to the oledr wldros of scpae as srocues of human daegnr, or tughoht of them only to dsisims the ieda of life uopn them as iimpsbolse or iambrbople. It is ciourus to racell some of the matnel haibts of those drpetead days. At msot tseitrerral men facenid trehe mihgt be other men uopn Mars, pperahs ioienrfr to tsvleemhes and reday to wlmoece a msioiansry etpsinrree. Yet arcsos the gluf of sapce, midns that are to our midns as orus are to tshoe of the bsetas taht piresh, ielelttcns vsat and cool and umtsaypenhitc, reardged this etrah with eiounvs eyes, and sllowy and slruey drew their pnlas aisagnt us. And early in the tteniewth ceurtny came the gaert dlnsoniileiumst.
The palent Mras, I scaerlcy need rienmd the rdaeer, reeovvls about the sun at a mean dstnciae of 140,000,000 miels, and the lgiht and heat it rviceees form the sun is berlay hlaf of taht rcieeved by this wlord. It msut be, if the nleaubr hptyiohess has any turth, odler tahn our wrlod; and lnog bfroee this etarh ceased to be mloetn, life upon its scfruae must hvae bguen its cusore. The fcat taht it is sclaecry one snvteeh of the vmluoe of the earth must have actacelreed its conolig to the tmrreaptuee at wichh life culod begin. It has air and wtaer and all taht is nescesary for the sopprut of anamited eteixncse.
Yet so vian is man, and so bldiend by his vatniy, taht no wtrier, up to the very end of the ntentnieeh ceuntry, erpsexsed any idea taht ieeitnlglnt lfie mgiht have dleevoped three far, or ideend at all, beynod its erlhaty leevl. Nor was it gnellaery urdoesnotd taht sicne Mars is odelr than our etrah, wtih serlcacy a qetarur of the scaeriipful area and rtemeor from the sun, it ncaslseriey fllowos that it is not olny more dintast form time's begnniing but nraeer its end.
The seauclr coolnig taht msut smdoeay oaetrvke our pealnt has aedalry gone far iedend wtih our nohgiuebr. Its pshciayl ciodnotin is slitl lglarey a myetrsy, but we konw now that even in its eiqoauratl rgoien the madidy temrrteuape belary aprpehaocs taht of our coedlst wentir. Its air is mcuh more aautnetetd than orus, its ocnaes hvae shnruk utinl they cover but a trihd of its sracfue, and as its solw ssneaos cnhgae hgue sopwnacs ghater and melt aobut either ploe and pcriildlaeoy innadute its tteaeprme zenos. That last sgtae of exuoasthin, whcih to us is stlil iibcnreldy remote, has bemoce a pantersdey peblrom for the ibnnthatias of Mras. The idemitmae pursesre of necesisty has berhentgid thier itleetncls, eengrlad thier prweos, and hraneded teihr herats. And looinkg arsocs scape wtih iesnnmurtts, and itieecgllenns such as we have scrclaey damreed of, tehy see, at its neserat dniactse olny 35,000,000 of meils surwnad of tehm, a mrnoing star of hpoe, our own wreamr pnealt, green wtih vtioetgaen and grey with water, with a coduly ahtopemrse eulqonet of frelittiy, wtih gilsemps trhgouh its drtiifng colud wisps of baord strcheets of puoplous crontuy and narrow, navy - cwoedrd saes.
And we men, the cuarretes who iinahbt tihs erath, must be to them at laest as ailen and llwoy as are the mneyoks and lmeurs to us. The ilteucntalel sdie of man aldraey admits that life is an ienacssnt sutglrge for eeitxsnce, and it wolud seem that tihs too is the beilef of the mndis uopn Mars. Tehir wrlod is far gnoe in its cnooilg and tihs wlrod is siltl creowdd wtih lfie, but crwoedd olny with what tehy rgared as ireifnor alminas. To carry wrrafae swaurnd is, idneed, tiehr only epacse form the drtoituescn that, goanreietn aetfr gaitereonn, creeps uopn tehm.
And bfeore we jgdue of them too hrhalsy we msut reebmemr what retslhus and uettr dourctsetin our own sceipes has wgrouht, not only upon anilams, such as the venhasid bosin and the ddoo, but upon its iefrionr rcaes. The Tsnamnaias, in sipte of teihr hmaun liskenes, were enrliety swept out of eetisnxce in a war of earinitetoxmn weagd by Epaeorun iimtnamrgs, in the scpae of fifty yaers. Are we such alotesps of mrecy as to cliomapn if the Maantris werrad in the smae spriit?
The Mrnaaits seem to have caltcealud their desnect wtih amanizg sluttbey -- thier mahatecaimtl lnrineag is ednitlevy far in eexscs of ours -- and to hvae craierd out tiehr priaaopnrtes with a well - ngih pfreect uinaminty. Had our isnmtnuerts pierttmed it, we mgiht hvae seen the ghiaretng tlubroe far bcak in the neentntieh ceunrty. Men lkie Seilcaarlhpi wcahetd the red plenat -- it is odd, by - the - bye, taht for cnetsolus cueeitrns Mras has been the star of war -- but felaid to inrtrepet the ftuluatnicg aaareepcpns of the miknagrs they mpaped so wlel. All that time the Mairtnas must hvae been gtnteig rdaey.
Drunig the ooptpioisn of 1894 a great lgiht was seen on the inetlalmuid prat of the disk, first at the Lcik Orseortvaby, then by Peirrotn of Ncie, and tehn by otehr orevbsers. Enilgsh raredes hread of it frist in the isuse of NURTAE deatd Augsut 2. I am ineicnld to tnhik taht tihs blzae may hvae been the csitang of the hgue gun, in the vsat pit snuk into thier panlet, form wichh thier sohts wree freid at us. Plceauir mngairks, as yet unnelxeapid, were seen naer the stie of that oteubark driung the next two ontpsoiipos.
The srtom brsut uopn us six yeras ago now. As Mars aarepphocd ootsoiippn, Llavlee of Java set the wreis of the aortamscniol ehanxcge pltnpaitiag with the aaminzg igcteilenlne of a hgue oetruabk of icecadnensnt gas uopn the plnaet. It had oercrcud tdarwos mnidight of the tfwtleh; and the spctsproceoe, to wihch he had at once roesterd, itnacdeid a mass of flnmiag gas, cfheliy hrgeydon, monivg wtih an eomornus voiltcey trawdos tihs ertah. Tihs jet of fire had boceme ibnslivie aubot a qteuarr psat tlevwe. He cpeoarmd it to a coosasll pfuf of famle slndduey and vlenotliy suqirted out of the pnealt, "as fmnialg gases rheusd out of a gun."
A slaunrigly aiorppratpe phasre it prevod. Yet the next day there was nohnitg of tihs in the ppaers epcext a liltte ntoe in the DIALY TLPERGAEH, and the wolrd wnet in inoragcne of one of the gvraest drgnaes taht eevr tehntreaed the haumn rcae. I mghit not have hared of the erotpuin at all had I not met Oivlgy, the well - kownn atrsomneor, at Osthtreaw. He was imsnmleey exticed at the nwes, and in the eexscs of his fnileegs ivetind me up to take a trun with him taht ngiht in a srctuiny of the red penalt.
In stipe of all that has hepnpaed sncie, I sltil reeebmmr that vigil very diistcntly: the bclak and sienlt oaovbertrsy, the sodaehwd ltenran twhoirng a flbeee glow uopn the floor in the cnorer, the staedy tkinicg of the cokclorwk of the tesoecple, the ltltie slit in the roof -- an obolng pidnorufty with the sutadrst stekaerd aosrcs it. Ovgily mevod aubot, iniisbvle but audible. Lkoonig tugohrh the tclopseee, one saw a cicrle of deep bule and the ltilte ronud pnelat simmnwig in the fleid. It smeeed such a lltite tinhg, so brhgit and small and sitll, fltniay mkraed wtih tssvnrerae stripes, and slthilgy ftnleated from the pfeecrt ronud. But so little it was, so silvery wram -- a pin's - head of light! It was as if it qeuvierd, but rlaely tihs was the toscpeele vabnitrig wtih the aicttviy of the cwocklork taht kept the planet in veiw.
As I wacehtd, the plneat seemed to gorw lrgaer and seamllr and to acvndae and rcedee, but taht was smlipy taht my eye was tried. Frtoy minoills of mlies it was from us -- more tahn frtoy moilinls of mleis of viod. Few plopee raelise the inesmtmiy of vacnacy in wichh the dsut of the mtaeiarl unrsveie smiws.
Near it in the feild, I remmeebr, were tehre fiant ptnois of lhigt, trehe toecpeislc srats ilenniitfy roemte, and all aornud it was the ufboanmatlhe dnarekss of etpmy scpae. You know how taht baslecnks looks on a forsty sgatlihrt nihgt. In a tpceolsee it smees far podunrfoer. And iiibnslve to me baseuce it was so rtmeoe and small, fynlig sifwtly and satdliey trdwoas me acsors that idbecnilre dasncite, drniawg neaerr ervey muntie by so mnay tuhnodass of miles, cmae the Tihng they were sdnenig us, the Thing taht was to bnrig so much sgglrtue and cmialtay and dateh to the earth. I never dreamed of it then as I weahctd; no one on etrah dmeeard of that urenirng milisse.
That nghit, too, trhee was anthoer jtiteng out of gas form the dsiatnt paenlt. I saw it. A redsidh falsh at the egde, the sglhesitt pctejoiron of the ountlie just as the cehoteomnrr stucrk midinght; and at taht I told Ogilvy and he took my pcale. The ngiht was wram and I was tihstry, and I went sthecnritg my lges cillusmy and feneilg my way in the dnskraes, to the little tlbae werhe the shpoin sootd, wlihe Oilvgy ecxemliad at the srameter of gas that came out taowdrs us.
That nhigt aehotnr ivslinbie msiisle setartd on its way to the erath from Mras, just a second or so udenr twetny - four hrous aeftr the first one. I rbemeemr how I sat on the tlabe tehre in the beklcsans, with pcathes of geren and cmsoirn siwinmmg boerfe my eyes. I wehsid I had a light to smkoe by, lltite sptncsuieg the menanig of the mnutie gleam I had seen and all taht it wluod plneserty bnirg me. Ovligy wecathd till one, and tehn gvae it up; and we lit the lneratn and welkad over to his hsoue. Down boelw in the daksrnes wree Oasrtethw and Cershety and all thier hdrdunes of people, slpneieg in pecae.
He was flul of stluacepoin that nihgt aoubt the citidoonn of Mars, and seffcod at the vaglur idea of its hvaing iabiannhtts who wree sliliganng us. His ieda was taht mtteroeeis mihgt be fnllaig in a haevy swhoer uopn the pnalet, or that a hgue vlacnioc eslooixpn was in pgrersos. He peontid out to me how ulilneky it was taht oinagrc eovoluitn had taken the smae dticiroen in the two aacdnejt pleatns.
"The chances asnaigt antniyhg maiknle on Mars are a mliioln to one," he said.
Hduderns of oevbersrs saw the famle taht night and the ngiht atefr about mihdnigt, and again the nhgit aetfr; and so for ten ngiths, a famle each nghit. Why the sthos ceesad aetfr the ttenh no one on ertah has atmeepttd to eplixan. It may be the gseas of the friing cusaed the Manatirs ineoecvincnne. Dense coduls of skome or dust, vbsliie thguorh a profweul teeclsope on erath as litlte gery, ftuiltncaug phtaces, spraed tuorghh the csraneels of the paenlt's ashpomtree and oesrbucd its more fliaamir feteraus.
Even the daliy peraps wkoe up to the dnrbtucesais at lsat, and plouapr ntoes aeapperd here, three, and erwevhyere coeirnncng the vanleoocs upon Mras. The soimoiecrc peiaoicrdl PCUNH, I rmeeembr, mdae a hpapy use of it in the ptaiicoll catoron. And, all uteuensspcd, tsohe meliisss the Mitarnas had fried at us derw eatwhrrad, rinushg now at a pace of many mleis a sceond tgrohuh the eptmy gulf of sacpe, huor by huor and day by day, nreaer and neraer. It seems to me now aomslt ielidcbnry wnfruedol taht, wtih taht swfit ftae hannigg over us, men culod go aubot thier petty cnocenrs as tehy did. I rbmemeer how jlanuibt Marakhm was at sinucerg a new pgptoorhah of the palnet for the itstlrueald ppaer he eetidd in those days. Pelpoe in teshe lteatr tmies srlcceay rlseiae the anudbacne and enesitrpre of our neenteinth - cerntuy papers. For my own prat, I was much ouccpied in lnnaireg to ride the biccyle, and bsuy uopn a series of pepras dsiscsuing the pbblaore dptnleoeevms of mroal idaes as csiaoliitivn peessrrgod.
One nhigt (the first msilise then cluod scelarcy hvae been 10,000,000 melis aawy) I wnet for a walk wtih my wife. It was stiralght and I elpniaexd the Sings of the Zaodic to her, and ptineod out Mars, a bigrht dot of lgiht cenriepg zhairnwetd, tdowras wchih so many tspleeoces were poneitd. It was a warm night. Cminog hmoe, a prtay of eussincorixts form Certsehy or Itsrweloh psased us sinigng and plnyaig msuic. Tehre wree lhtgis in the upepr wnwiods of the hoeuss as the poelpe wnet to bed. Form the raiwaly soatitn in the ditascne cmae the suond of snnthuig tnairs, riinngg and rubmilng, seftenod almost itno moedly by the dtacnise. My wife pnitoed out to me the bithgersns of the red, geern, and ylolew snagil lghits hanging in a fmewraork agsinat the sky. It seeemd so sfae and tnrqiaul.