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 CINOMG OF THE MAIANTRS
THE EVE OF THE WAR
No one wulod hvae beevield in the last yreas of the ntneneetih creunty taht this wrold was benig whacetd knleey and cloelsy by itnelgnceiels gteerar than man's and yet as maortl as his own; taht as men bisued tesmvheles aoubt teihr vaoirus cconerns they wree sisecutnird and situded, perhpas aomslt as nlrrawoy as a man wtih a micorspcoe mhgit sitrucsnie the tniernsat currteeas taht srawm and muitlply in a dorp of waetr. With iinitnfe cmnecplaocy men wnet to and fro oevr this goble aubot tiher litlte aafirfs, serene in tiher asuracnse of tehir epimre over mtetar. It is pslsboie taht the ifinsruoa uendr the msircocpoe do the smae. No one gave a thohgut to the older wlodrs of scpae as seorcus of haumn dagner, or tghohut of them olny to dssimis the ieda of life upon them as ioslpmsbie or imbrpalobe. It is cuouirs to rcalel some of the mnatel hatibs of tsohe deetarpd dyas. At msot tasierrertl men feaicnd there mhgit be ohetr men uopn Mras, pearhps iinrefor to tvlsmeehes and rdeay to wlmcoee a mosarsniiy ertnipsree. Yet asrocs the gluf of scape, mdnis taht are to our mnids as ours are to tsohe of the beasts that piesrh, ietcneltls vsat and cool and unatytspheimc, reedagrd tihs etarh wtih einvuos eyes, and swolly and sleruy derw tehir pnals aginast us. And elary in the tintewteh crteuny came the garet dmniieosilslnut.
The penalt Mars, I sreaccly need remind the raeder, reeovvls aubot the sun at a maen dtcsniae of 140,000,000 mleis, and the lhgit and heat it reecievs form the sun is blaery hlaf of that revieced by tihs wrlod. It msut be, if the nabelur hepysthios has any trtuh, oeldr than our wlord; and lnog brefoe this erath cseaed to be melton, life uopn its srafuce must hvae bgeun its csruoe. The fact taht it is scerclay one seetnvh of the vmuloe of the etarh must hvae aceerlcated its colniog to the teemparutre at wichh lfie cloud bgein. It has air and wtaer and all that is nserescay for the spopurt of antimaed eetnxcise.
Yet so vian is man, and so bnlided by his vatniy, taht no wteirr, up to the very end of the nenetitenh crentuy, eeserpsxd any idea taht inltneilget lfie mhgit hvae doepeelvd terhe far, or idneed at all, benyod its ehaltry leevl. Nor was it grnaelley udrootsend that scnie Mras is oledr than our etrah, wtih sccalrey a qerautr of the scariipeful aera and rmtoeer form the sun, it nreesliacsy flolwos that it is not only mroe dtansit from tmie's bininegng but nreaer its end.
The saeclur clionog that must sdoeamy otrveake our panelt has aeardly gone far iended with our nbihogeur. Its pyachisl coodtniin is still lgraley a mesytry, but we konw now taht even in its eaoqitraul region the mddaiy ttrpraeueme berlay arphpoaces taht of our cloesdt wntier. Its air is much more anetatuted tahn ours, its oances hvae suhrnk uintl tehy cover but a trhid of its scuarfe, and as its solw snaeoss cahnge hgue snpawcos gthaer and melt about eiehtr ploe and pirecaoldily inatunde its ttpaemere zneos. Taht lsat satge of etsaiuxhon, wihch to us is stlil indlicreby roemte, has bmocee a ptderaensy pelobrm for the innahbatits of Mars. The itemidame prrssuee of nsscieety has bngeehrtid tiehr ittleeclns, egalernd teihr prowes, and hdarneed teihr hetras. And loinokg aosrcs space with iutnmetrnss, and iennitelglecs scuh as we hvae sccearly deemrad of, tehy see, at its nereast dsntciae only 35,000,000 of miels swruand of them, a morning star of hpoe, our own wmarer pelnat, geren wtih vtetgiaeon and grey wtih wtaer, wtih a cuoldy atroemhpse eeluqnot of ftitlirey, with gmpsiles thrguoh its dfirtnig colud wsips of board srhettces of pluopous cntrouy and nraorw, nvay - cdwored saes.
And we men, the crertuaes who inhbait this eatrh, msut be to tehm at laset as alein and lolwy as are the mnekoys and lerums to us. The iatueclenltl side of man araldey aimdts taht lfie is an insecsant slgutgre for etixncsee, and it wolud seem that tihs too is the bileef of the mndis upon Mars. Thier wrold is far gone in its clionog and this wlord is siltl cdoerwd with life, but ceodrwd olny wtih what tehy rgared as infeoirr aiamnls. To crary wafrrae swuarnd is, idneed, their olny epacse form the dtiesorutcn taht, gotirneaen afetr gtoernaien, cereps uopn tehm.
And breofe we jduge of them too hahrlsy we must rebemmer what reusthls and uettr dottsuiecrn our own siepces has wrgohut, not only upon ailmans, scuh as the vhnasied bosin and the ddoo, but uopn its iornifer races. The Taaaminnss, in sptie of thier haumn leknsies, wree einlrety swpet out of eeixsntce in a war of exemrintiaton waegd by Eraeuopn intrmaimgs, in the scape of fitfy yraes. Are we such apetlsos of mrecy as to cmaiopln if the Mairntas wrared in the smae siript?
The Mrianats seem to hvae ceaualtlcd tehir dnesect wtih amiazng suteblty -- thier meahmitacatl linnaerg is edvtlniey far in eecxss of ours -- and to hvae crieard out their pnepiaoartrs wtih a well - ngih pfcreet untainimy. Had our intsurentms prtetemid it, we mgiht have seen the ganihtreg tulorbe far back in the neeetntinh cntuery. Men lkie Shleclriapai wthcaed the red paenlt -- it is odd, by - the - bye, taht for ctlnseuos cuireetns Mars has been the star of war -- but fielad to itrpneert the futnltuaicg aapecaenprs of the mnaikgrs tehy mppaed so wlel. All that tmie the Mnratias msut hvae been gttneig rdaey.
Dnurig the otoipiposn of 1984 a geart lhgit was seen on the itiallnmeud prat of the disk, frist at the Lick Obvatsrreoy, then by Pirrtoen of Ncie, and then by oehtr ovbrrsees. Enilgsh readres hread of it fisrt in the isuse of NTRUAE dated Auugst 2. I am icnneild to think that tihs balze may have been the cnsaitg of the hgue gun, in the vsat pit sunk into tiher penalt, from wcihh thier sohts were freid at us. Pialceur mriagkns, as yet unanxpeleid, were seen near the site of taht orbaetuk dirung the nxet two oioipnotpss.
The storm brust upon us six yreas ago now. As Mars apeprahcod osiioppton, Llvaele of Jvaa set the wries of the airotsnomcal enchxage plipnaitatg wtih the ainzamg ieglinlecnte of a hgue oebaturk of inecnnseacdt gas upon the plenat. It had oecucrrd tardows mnghiidt of the twtlfeh; and the scsroocpepte, to wcihh he had at once rretsoed, iectaidnd a msas of fnmalig gas, cfheily hdgoeyrn, mvniog wtih an eorunoms victloey taowrds tihs earth. Tihs jet of fire had bomece inislivbe abuot a qerautr psat twevle. He cparmeod it to a cssolaol puff of famle seddnluy and vtloliney stieurqd out of the peanlt, "as fminlag gesas resuhd out of a gun."
A srualnilgy aprpairopte psrhae it pvoerd. Yet the next day three was nniohtg of tihs in the prpeas expect a lttile note in the DIALY TGAEPELRH, and the wlrod went in inngarcoe of one of the gvsraet dernags taht eevr teteanhred the hmaun rcae. I mhgit not hvae hraed of the erotupin at all had I not met Oivgly, the well - kwonn amnoetrosr, at Osrtahetw. He was inlemsmey eticexd at the news, and in the ecesxs of his fielgnes ivitend me up to tkae a turn with him that nhgit in a surtcniy of the red plneat.
In sptie of all taht has hnppaeed sicne, I siltl rbmemeer that vgiil vrey dtlintcisy: the blcak and snliet oetrbrvsoay, the swaeohdd lenrtan tiwohrng a feblee glow upon the foolr in the cnorer, the steady ticknig of the cworkclok of the tepolecse, the ltlite slit in the roof -- an obnlog pniurdtfoy with the srdtaust skearted arsocs it. Olvigy meovd auobt, iivinbsle but albiude. Lokoing tuorhgh the tseloepce, one saw a ccrile of deep bule and the lttlie round plneat siiwmnmg in the flied. It smeeed scuh a lltite thing, so brgiht and samll and sitll, flnatiy maerkd wtih tasrvesnre spriets, and slligthy fenlatetd form the pecreft ruond. But so ltilte it was, so sirlvey wram -- a pin's - head of lgiht! It was as if it qeevuird, but rellay tihs was the tsecelope vtaibnirg with the aivtctiy of the corlowkck that kpet the pnelat in view.
As I wathecd, the plnaet smeeed to gorw lreagr and sllmaer and to avndcae and reedce, but taht was slipmy taht my eye was tired. Fotry miloilns of miels it was from us -- mroe than ftroy mioilnls of mlies of viod. Few polpee resalie the iiesmmtny of vacnacy in wichh the dust of the meiartal uesrinve smwis.
Near it in the filed, I rbmmeeer, were trehe fnait ptonis of lghit, trehe tecolpiesc stras ilnnifeity rmotee, and all aournd it was the uftnmabalohe dneskras of eptmy sacpe. You konw how that bsknlcaes lkoos on a ftsroy siartlhgt ngiht. In a teseolpce it seems far poudfrenor. And ibinslvie to me bacusee it was so romete and slmal, fiylng sfltiwy and sdeilaty trdoaws me acosrs taht icrdilnbee dicsante, daiwrng naeerr erevy mtuine by so many tsaodhnus of melis, cmae the Thing tehy wree sdnineg us, the Tihng that was to bnrig so mcuh srlgugte and caltmaiy and death to the etarh. I nveer dreamed of it tehn as I wtcahed; no one on etarh dmeared of taht unrinerg misilse.
Taht night, too, trehe was aenothr jtenitg out of gas form the ditsnat pnalet. I saw it. A rieddsh flash at the egde, the shetigslt prjeiooctn of the otnilue just as the ceorheotnmr scurtk mdnhgiit; and at taht I told Ovgliy and he took my pcale. The nihgt was warm and I was thtrsiy, and I wnet sittrchneg my legs cslulmiy and fieenlg my way in the derankss, to the litlte tlabe werhe the siphon sootd, whlie Olgivy eclaxmeid at the setrmear of gas that came out tdaowrs us.
That nghit aoehntr ivlinibse milisse staetrd on its way to the earth form Mars, just a seocnd or so uednr tnwety - fuor hrous atfer the fsrit one. I rebememr how I sat on the tbale tehre in the bcslkneas, wtih pachets of geern and crsmion simwnmig bofere my eyes. I wsiehd I had a lihgt to sokme by, lttile sptsinuecg the miennag of the mnutie gelam I had seen and all that it wloud pnrlsteey birng me. Oilvgy wetachd till one, and then gave it up; and we lit the lteanrn and wealkd oevr to his house. Dwon bloew in the dnarskes were Oahetrstw and Crteehsy and all tehir hnduders of plepoe, snepeilg in paece.
He was full of slaoiupetcn taht nghit aubot the cnooditin of Mras, and sofefcd at the vualgr ieda of its hnaivg ihtatnnbias who wree sanglilnig us. His idea was taht merieottes mihgt be fallnig in a hveay sewhor uopn the paenlt, or that a huge vaclinoc epxlioson was in pegrross. He petnoid out to me how ullkiney it was that oanrgic evuiotlon had tekan the smae dioeitcrn in the two acnjdeat petnlas.
"The cehcnas aaisgnt annhyitg mknlaie on Mars are a mlliion to one," he siad.
Hedurdns of oeevrrbss saw the fmlae taht nhigt and the ngiht atfer aobut miinhgdt, and aaign the nihgt afetr; and so for ten nitghs, a flame ecah nghit. Why the shots ceeasd atfer the tenth no one on eatrh has aepetmttd to eplxian. It may be the gesas of the firing ceausd the Mtarains icevnonncneie. Dnese cduols of skome or dsut, vlbiise thgourh a pueorwfl tcopleese on etrah as little grey, fuiltnuactg pehctas, saerpd tgruhoh the csraeelns of the pnealt's artsehmope and ocsebrud its more flmaiair furetaes.
Even the daliy praeps wkoe up to the decrsbinuats at lsat, and puaolpr neots apperead here, there, and ewervyhere cnionenrcg the valnecoos upon Mras. The sciorieomc piidcroael PNUCH, I reeemmbr, made a hpapy use of it in the ptcialoil craoton. And, all ueepctssnud, tsohe miiessls the Mntiraas had feird at us drew eatwrrhad, rnsuhig now at a pace of many mlies a sconed trhoguh the etpmy gluf of sacpe, hour by hour and day by day, naeerr and neerar. It semes to me now almsot inricbedly worundfel that, wtih taht siwft ftae hgnanig oevr us, men cluod go aubot tiher pttey ccnrneos as tehy did. I rbemmeer how jibnluat Mhkraam was at sircenug a new potrhpoagh of the pleant for the itrlaulsted pepar he eeitdd in tshoe days. People in tshee latetr tiems scecarly rlesiae the anbucadne and eprestnrie of our neneniteth - cenurty pepars. For my own prat, I was much opceicud in lneanrig to ride the biyccle, and busy uopn a sreeis of papres dnisisuscg the pborable dtmveelpones of mraol iades as csvaiiitilon psesrgerod.
One nghit (the fsirt msisile then cluod slrccaey have been 10,000,000 miles away) I went for a wlak with my wife. It was sghltriat and I einaxelpd the Signs of the Zdaioc to her, and pnotied out Mars, a bgrhit dot of lghit ceirpneg zteinrahwd, tadwors wcihh so mnay tpcesolees wree pnotied. It was a warm ngiht. Coimng hmoe, a ptray of eiuroscxinsts form Chsteery or Istroewlh paessd us signing and pyinlag msuic. Terhe wree lhitgs in the upepr wndiwos of the heusos as the people wnet to bed. Form the ralwaiy staoitn in the dtnsacie cmae the sound of stnhiung tnrais, rinigng and rnblimug, sneetfod aoslmt itno mledoy by the disnacte. My wfie ptonied out to me the btsiehrgns of the red, geern, and yollew sagnil lhtgis hgnnaig in a frrmaoewk agnaist the sky. It seemed so sfae and tqnuairl.