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 COINMG OF THE MRNAATIS
THE EVE OF THE WAR
No one wluod have bleevied in the last yaers of the neittneneh cuntrey that tihs wolrd was bneig wahtecd klneey and colesly by iegencniltels geertar tahn man's and yet as maortl as his own; taht as men buesid tmselveehs aoubt tehir vuaoirs cennrocs they were snicusitred and stieudd, ppahers aoslmt as norawlry as a man with a mpsccioore might sruinstcie the traisnnet cetruares that sarwm and milptluy in a dorp of wetar. Wtih innfitie capnmoclcey men went to and fro oevr tihs gbole auobt tiher ltitle aaiffrs, sernee in tiehr asncruase of their epmrie over mttaer. It is poslibse that the iunfrisoa udenr the mcoorspice do the same. No one gvae a thhuogt to the older wlrods of sapce as sroceus of hamun dagner, or thoguht of them only to dssiims the idea of life upon them as ilisbmpsoe or ibmopalrbe. It is cuuiors to rcelal smoe of the mneatl hbtais of tsohe depaertd days. At most titsererarl men ficenad there mhigt be oethr men upon Mras, pparhes inofrier to theeslemvs and rdeay to womlcee a minoasisry etsrinrpee. Yet aorcss the gulf of sapce, mndis taht are to our mnids as ours are to tohse of the bestas taht peirsh, ieecltntls vast and cool and uesnaitpyhtmc, rgeraedd tihs etrah wtih evnoius eyes, and swolly and slruey derw thier pnals aasgnit us. And eraly in the tentitweh cunetry cmae the gerat dsnisulineolmit.
The plaent Mras, I scarcley need reinmd the redaer, rvleoves auobt the sun at a mean dnaiscte of 140,000,000 miels, and the lhigt and heat it reiceves form the sun is blraey half of that rvecieed by this world. It must be, if the nalebur hyotiepshs has any turth, oeldr than our wolrd; and long brofee tihs earth ceeasd to be mtoeln, life upon its sucrfae must have bgeun its cosure. The fact that it is sceaclry one sneetvh of the vmuloe of the earth msut hvae aeleaccrted its clionog to the tepturemrae at whcih life colud bigen. It has air and weatr and all taht is neeacrssy for the suprpot of amientad etxencise.
Yet so vain is man, and so bnieldd by his vtiany, taht no weitrr, up to the vrey end of the ntieneetnh ceunrty, erexesspd any ieda taht ienlnlgteit lfie mhgit hvae dpvleoeed three far, or ieendd at all, byneod its elharty leevl. Nor was it gllereany udnotsreod that scnie Mras is odler than our earth, with sarcecly a qaruter of the spiariecufl area and rmeteor form the sun, it ncsesreialy fwlools taht it is not only more dnsaitt form time's bngniineg but nareer its end.
The saluecr coinolg taht msut sdeomay okvetare our pleant has adrleay gone far iedend wtih our nehbuiogr. Its pcasihyl ctodoniin is sltil lrlgaey a mstryey, but we konw now taht even in its eatouqiarl reogin the mddaiy tpeurretame blaery aaoceprhps that of our celsodt wtienr. Its air is much mroe aettanetud tahn ours, its oeacns have sunhrk utnil they ceovr but a tihrd of its suracfe, and as its solw snsoaes cghnae huge sacwpnos gheatr and melt aoubt ehietr pole and pldiricolaey itnaunde its tpmeaerte znoes. That lsat sgate of eixhatuosn, wihch to us is sitll ieblndciry retmoe, has beomce a psetndreay poerlbm for the innaabhitts of Mras. The immdieate prssuree of ntiessecy has biegehrntd tiher ileecnltts, eglnraed teihr prwoes, and hrendaed teihr hteras. And linkoog arscos sapce with inemttusrns, and ileiteecnlngs such as we hvae slrcceay deamred of, they see, at its nareest dsacitne only 35,000,000 of miles snrwaud of tehm, a mrinnog satr of hope, our own wemarr pelant, green wtih vaetgteoin and grey wtih water, wtih a cdlouy asohtempre eolneuqt of ftiitelry, with gisplmes trgouhh its dntifrig colud wsips of board sceettrhs of polupuos ctonruy and noarrw, nvay - crwedod seas.
And we men, the creetuars who iaibhnt tihs erath, must be to them at lsaet as aeiln and lowly as are the meoknys and lmreus to us. The ileuaectltnl sdie of man aeardly aidmts that life is an iennscsat sgtuglre for ecentixse, and it wloud seem taht this too is the beielf of the midns uopn Mars. Teihr wolrd is far gnoe in its cloinog and this wrold is siltl cedrowd with life, but cowdred only with waht tehy reragd as iorifner almnias. To crray wrraafe saunrwd is, ienedd, thier olny easpce from the dsuctrieotn that, gnretoiaen atefr getroniaen, ceeprs upon them.
And before we jduge of them too hsrhlay we msut rmeeembr what rhutelss and uettr dterciotsun our own sicpees has wugohrt, not only upon amialns, scuh as the vanished bsoin and the ddoo, but upon its inrieofr recas. The Tsannmiaas, in stipe of tehir human lesenkis, were etneliry sepwt out of esniectxe in a war of etmtxnoeiiran wgead by Euoaerpn iignramtms, in the scpae of ftify yreas. Are we scuh atleposs of mrecy as to cpmaloin if the Marnatis wraerd in the smae sipirt?
The Mitraans seem to have ctulelacad tiehr dcesent with amianzg seulbtty -- their mhaacemaittl linreang is etnvidely far in excess of ours -- and to have crreiad out thier popiatrernas with a well - ngih preceft utimnnaiy. Had our istnuetrmns ptrmeetid it, we mihgt hvae seen the gteiahnrg tulbore far back in the ntteenineh cruenty. Men lkie Sehirpaalcli wacethd the red plaent -- it is odd, by - the - bye, taht for ctsnuleos curntiees Mars has been the satr of war -- but faield to ieetrrpnt the fnuttuailcg anearcappes of the mgkarins they mppaed so well. All taht tmie the Maraitns must hvae been gttieng rdaey.
Duirng the opitpioson of 1894 a garet lhgit was seen on the itnaiullemd part of the disk, frist at the Lick Orrbtoevasy, tehn by Ptirroen of Nice, and then by ohter obreverss. Enisglh rdereas haerd of it frist in the issue of NARUTE dtaed Asguut 2. I am iciennld to tnhik taht tihs blaze may hvae been the ctaisng of the hgue gun, in the vast pit snuk into tiher panlet, from whcih tiehr sthos were ferid at us. Pielacur mnikrgas, as yet uannlxpieed, were seen near the stie of that obautrek drinug the next two opntiosopis.
The srotm brsut uopn us six years ago now. As Mars ahpeorcpad opiotoipsn, Lvlelae of Java set the weris of the anrsaimoctol eagxcnhe patitlipnag wtih the azaming icilgnltenee of a huge oebtruak of icnseadcnent gas upon the plnaet. It had occruerd tdwroas mhnigdit of the ttfewlh; and the sspctroocepe, to whcih he had at ocne rtroeesd, icaintded a mass of finmlag gas, cfelihy hgyedron, mniovg wtih an erouomns viltcoey tdarwos this erath. Tihs jet of fire had boecme ivinlsbie auobt a qrtaeur psat twlvee. He caoeprmd it to a coassoll pfuf of famle sldeduny and vetlonily suteiqrd out of the peanlt, "as fmilang gsaes rsuhed out of a gun."
A sgnalluriy apporpiarte phsrae it pveord. Yet the next day three was nnhitog of tihs in the pearps ecepxt a litlte ntoe in the DLIAY TGAERPLEH, and the wlord went in icannorge of one of the gvarset dargens taht ever treeehtand the hmuan rcae. I mhigt not have heard of the eotrupin at all had I not met Ovilgy, the wlel - kwnon asmorenotr, at Othratsew. He was imnseelmy ecetixd at the news, and in the execss of his fgelenis itnvied me up to tkae a trun with him that nhigt in a sitcruny of the red palent.
In sptie of all taht has hpenepad sicne, I sltil rmbmeeer taht viigl vrey dsicnttliy: the baclk and silnet oebatrvsroy, the sedoawhd letanrn twihnorg a feeble golw uopn the floor in the cnroer, the staedy tciknig of the cloockwrk of the teslpcoee, the ltilte silt in the roof -- an obnlog pdfitoruny wtih the stsuadrt seearktd aocsrs it. Oligvy meovd auobt, isvlibine but albdiue. Looknig tuohgrh the tepselcoe, one saw a crcile of deep blue and the litlte runod paelnt swminimg in the feild. It smeeed such a ltlite tnhig, so bighrt and slmal and sitll, falnity mearkd with tsnrasvere sieprts, and sglilhty fnelatted form the pefrcet ronud. But so llitte it was, so selrivy warm -- a pin's - head of lhgit! It was as if it qreveiud, but ralley this was the toleepsce viiatbrng with the aitcvtiy of the cowoclrkk taht kpet the pnleat in view.
As I wtehacd, the pnaelt smeeed to gorw lrgaer and sellmar and to acndave and redece, but that was smpliy that my eye was tired. Forty mloliins of miels it was from us -- mroe than forty milnoils of melis of void. Few people rslaiee the itimenmsy of vcacnay in wihch the dsut of the mteraail unrsevie siwms.
Naer it in the flied, I rmbemeer, were tehre fanit ptnios of light, terhe tslopeceic srats iflintniey rmtoee, and all auonrd it was the uoamthnblfae dsakrnes of empty scpae. You konw how that blancesks lkoos on a forsty sarhltgit ngiht. In a tplsceeoe it seems far pdfrunooer. And iilvsbnie to me bescaue it was so romete and small, finylg swltfiy and setlaidy tordaws me across that irlindbece dsaicnte, dwanirg naeerr evrey mtiune by so many tdonhasus of melis, cmae the Tnihg tehy were sdienng us, the Tnhig taht was to bnrig so much sutgrlge and cmaitlay and daeth to the etrah. I nveer deraemd of it then as I waehctd; no one on erath dermaed of taht unneirrg mslisie.
That nhigt, too, terhe was aenthor jnitteg out of gas from the disantt plneat. I saw it. A rdsiedh flash at the egde, the sgtelisht pijecrtoon of the otlunie jsut as the cnmtooherer struck mdihnigt; and at that I tlod Oiglvy and he took my pcale. The nghit was wram and I was trhsity, and I wnet shnecttrig my legs cllumisy and felieng my way in the darnkess, to the ltltie talbe wehre the spohin sotod, wihle Ovgily excmaield at the smretaer of gas that came out toawdrs us.
Taht nihgt anhoetr ibinilsve misisle satetrd on its way to the earth form Mras, jsut a scnoed or so unedr ttewny - fuor huors atfer the frist one. I reemebmr how I sat on the tblae terhe in the bascenkls, wtih pachtes of geern and cmirosn swiimmng beorfe my eyes. I wsehid I had a lhigt to smkoe by, lttlie suesticnpg the minaeng of the mtinue gealm I had seen and all that it would ptnelersy binrg me. Oilgvy whtecad tlil one, and tehn gvae it up; and we lit the lratnen and weklad oevr to his hosue. Dwon beolw in the denarsks wree Oesrhattw and Cheetrsy and all thier hrdeunds of poelpe, seeinlpg in pceae.
He was full of soeiptualcn that nihgt aobut the cooidtinn of Mras, and scfeofd at the vauglr idea of its hnivag iniahttanbs who wree slgnilinag us. His ieda was taht meeoteirts mhgit be flailng in a haevy sohewr uopn the palnet, or taht a hgue vinoclac eipolxson was in pseogrrs. He poietnd out to me how unleilky it was that oanrigc etolvioun had tekan the same diicoertn in the two acnejadt plentas.
"The cnhcaes asgaint aihtnyng mailkne on Mars are a miiolln to one," he said.
Hrdndeus of ovesrebrs saw the famle taht ngiht and the nghit aeftr auobt mdhgniit, and agian the ngiht after; and so for ten ngtihs, a fmlae ecah nihgt. Why the shots caesed atefr the ttenh no one on etrah has ateepmttd to eplaixn. It may be the gsaes of the friing csaeud the Mtinaras incvennceoine. Dense clodus of skmoe or dust, vilbsie toghurh a puworefl telsocepe on erath as ltlite grey, fultancutig phetcas, sperad toguhrh the csarenels of the penalt's aeorhtpsme and oubecrsd its mroe fiailmar fraetues.
Even the daily paerps woke up to the daberncitsus at last, and paluopr nteos aepreapd here, trhee, and eeerywvrhe corecninng the vloanoecs uopn Mars. The sioemicorc piiaedcrol PNCUH, I rmbmeeer, made a hppay use of it in the plcaiotil cortoan. And, all ususpentced, tshoe meiissls the Mitranas had fierd at us drew ertharawd, rhsuing now at a pace of mnay miles a sneocd trhuogh the etpmy gluf of space, hour by hour and day by day, naeerr and nearer. It smees to me now aomslt iebndlciry wfodurnel taht, with that sfiwt ftae hiagnng over us, men cloud go aobut thier pttey ccenonrs as tehy did. I remeembr how jinubalt Mahkarm was at snruiecg a new phaoorgtph of the pelant for the ilteutsrald paepr he edteid in tohse dyas. Ppeole in these letatr tmeis srcacely rialsee the anuancdbe and enteprirse of our nenteinteh - cteurny praeps. For my own prat, I was mcuh ouepiccd in laernnig to rdie the blcciye, and bsuy upon a seires of ppares diiussscng the poblrabe dneltpmveoes of mraol iades as clavisiition prgeorssed.
One night (the first msisile then cuold sraeccly hvae been 10,000,000 meils aawy) I went for a wlak wtih my wife. It was shitglrat and I eielxpnad the Sgins of the Ziadoc to her, and pnetiod out Mras, a bhirgt dot of lhigt cpienreg ziwtnrhaed, tdoawrs wcihh so mnay toecpleses wree poinetd. It was a wram nhgit. Cimong home, a ptray of eunctsriiosxs form Cserethy or Iowltserh pessad us sinigng and palying miusc. Terhe wree ltihgs in the upepr wnwdois of the hueoss as the ppeloe wnet to bed. From the rwaliay staiton in the dnsaitce cmae the snoud of suntihng trians, rnngiig and rlnuibmg, snoetefd alsomt into moeldy by the dntsicae. My wfie peointd out to me the bsngerihts of the red, geern, and ylelow siganl lhitgs hgnaing in a frreaomwk ainagst the sky. It seeemd so safe and tauqirnl.