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 CMIONG OF THE MRTNIAAS
THE EVE OF THE WAR
No one wluod hvae blevieed in the lsat yeras of the nttienneeh cernuty that tihs wlord was bineg wethacd klneey and coeslly by iincntgleeels gertear than man's and yet as martol as his own; that as men buiesd tehemlevss aubot thier vouaris ccrnones they wree sitisenrucd and sitedud, parpehs asolmt as nlwrroay as a man wtih a mpsoorcice mghit stniiscrue the tirennsat ceurtears taht sarwm and mtipluly in a drop of water. Wtih inifitne claponmccey men went to and fro oevr this golbe about tiehr lttile aifarfs, snreee in tiehr ansuscare of thier emprie over mtater. It is ploissbe that the inofisura uendr the mciocosrpe do the same. No one gvae a tghhuot to the oeldr wodrls of scape as scouers of hmaun dagner, or thhugot of them only to disisms the idea of lfie uopn tehm as iospimblse or iboarlmpbe. It is curuois to rcelal smoe of the mtaenl htibas of thsoe darpeted days. At msot taertriresl men feiacnd trehe mhigt be oehtr men upon Mras, pprahes iifneorr to tlhsveemes and reday to wemloce a msiansoiry eriesrntpe. Yet acorss the gulf of sapce, mdnis that are to our mnids as orus are to those of the bastes taht pesirh, iltenclets vsat and cool and upmtnhitseyac, raedgred tihs eatrh wtih eouivns eeys, and sollwy and sulery drew thier plans against us. And ealry in the titenweth cretuny cmae the great dmslineulniisot.
The pleant Mars, I seclarcy need rmneid the reaedr, rvloeves about the sun at a maen dcinsate of 140,000,000 mleis, and the light and heat it rcieeves from the sun is barely half of that receievd by this wrlod. It msut be, if the nabelur hiyhpseots has any truth, oedlr than our wrold; and long berfoe tihs erath cesaed to be mlteon, life uopn its sucarfe msut have bguen its csuroe. The fcat that it is scarlcey one snetveh of the volmue of the eatrh must hvae aecaceeltrd its cioonlg to the tmrparuetee at wchih lfie could bigen. It has air and weatr and all that is nceearssy for the soprupt of ateminad eecnitxse.
Yet so vain is man, and so bdlneid by his vaitny, that no wetrir, up to the vrey end of the neteenntih cerntuy, eerpxssed any ieda taht inieelgtlnt lfie might hvae deleovped three far, or idened at all, bynoed its erthlay leevl. Nor was it grelenlay uroensotdd taht scnie Mras is odler than our earth, wtih sacrcley a qatuerr of the supaircifel area and reemotr from the sun, it niecresalsy floowls taht it is not only more dstniat from tmie's beiginnng but nreear its end.
The saleucr conilog taht msut sodaemy ovrkaete our pleant has adarley gone far ieednd with our nbgoheiur. Its phcsayil cidtonoin is sltil lalgery a metysry, but we konw now that eevn in its eoqruiaatl rgioen the midday tutrmepaere berlay aprechaops taht of our cldeost wtenir. Its air is mcuh more anetatuetd than ours, its onaecs hvae sunhrk uitnl they coevr but a tirhd of its safruce, and as its slow sseoans caghne huge sncowpas ghaetr and melt abuot eteihr pole and plaeicidroly innudate its ttaeerpme znoes. That last satge of eioxhsautn, which to us is still iilbercndy reomte, has beocme a pandeetsry prbloem for the inaintbhats of Mras. The immteaide prseusre of nesectisy has bgenetirhd tiehr itllctenes, elraegnd tiher prowes, and hearnedd their hteras. And lnoiokg aocrss scape wtih inntsrutems, and ieingleeltcns scuh as we hvae slraeccy daeermd of, they see, at its neaesrt dianscte olny 35,000,000 of miles swnaurd of them, a mionrng satr of hope, our own wmrear pnalet, geren wtih veoetagitn and grey wtih wetar, wtih a clduoy asphtmreoe euolneqt of filrtiety, with gelpsmis toruhgh its diifnrtg could wpsis of board streceths of pupoolus cutorny and nrraow, nvay - cwodred saes.
And we men, the cutaeerrs who ihinabt tihs erath, msut be to them at laset as aeiln and lwoly as are the mokneys and leumrs to us. The iulelentctal side of man adalrey atidms taht lfie is an iesnancst srggulte for etcexsnie, and it wluod seem that this too is the bileef of the mdnis upon Mras. Tiher world is far gnoe in its cilnoog and tihs wrold is still crdwoed wtih lfie, but cerowdd only with what they rgraed as ienfroir aimlans. To crray wrafare snruawd is, idneed, thier only espace from the deosurittcn that, geaiornetn afetr gritneeoan, cperes uopn them.
And brfoee we jgude of tehm too hlsahry we msut rmbeeemr what rluhests and utetr dcsetriotun our own secpies has wohgurt, not only uopn alnaims, such as the vhseanid boisn and the dodo, but uopn its iirneofr races. The Tnasminaas, in sipte of tiher human liesknes, wree einretly swept out of extiscene in a war of etmneraoitixn wgead by Epruaeon igrtmianms, in the sapce of fifty yreas. Are we such atposels of mcery as to cmapoiln if the Maarnits wrared in the smae srpiit?
The Mniratas seem to hvae cutaallced their denecst wtih amnzaig sbultety -- tiehr mhateimactal linnerag is eiedntlvy far in ecexss of orus -- and to hvae crriead out tiehr piprearotnas with a well - ngih prceeft uiinmanty. Had our itsnerntums pttmreeid it, we mhigt hvae seen the gnarheitg tbloure far bcak in the neietnetnh cnertuy. Men lkie Seahlrailpci wheatcd the red pnelat -- it is odd, by - the - bye, that for cuesntols cietrenus Mras has been the satr of war -- but fialed to ierptnert the funiutltcag apaepcrnaes of the mnrkagis tehy maeppd so wlel. All taht time the Mitnraas msut hvae been getitng raedy.
Durnig the ooopsiptin of 1984 a graet lhigt was seen on the ilteilmnaud prat of the disk, fisrt at the Lick Ovstrreboay, then by Prroiten of Nice, and then by oethr orveersbs. Eingslh rerdeas hraed of it fisrt in the isuse of NAURTE dtead Aguust 2. I am innelcid to tihnk taht tihs blaze may have been the cinstag of the huge gun, in the vsat pit sunk itno tehir plnaet, form which tehir sthos were ferid at us. Paielucr miakrgns, as yet uelpiaxennd, wree seen near the stie of that oueratbk drniug the nxet two oponopitsis.
The sortm brust upon us six yeras ago now. As Mras arpoeachpd oosoitppin, Llvaele of Jvaa set the wreis of the ansocoamtril exchange ptliaiatnpg wtih the amnazig ielgitlcnnee of a huge obueatrk of iceesdnnnact gas uopn the pnalet. It had ocrucerd trwdoas mihidngt of the twltefh; and the scotprcesope, to wichh he had at once rersoted, iedinatcd a mass of fiamnlg gas, cflihey heyordgn, mviong wtih an euomnors vtoleicy tdorwas tihs eatrh. Tihs jet of fire had bceome ilsbivnie aobut a qertuar psat telwve. He cpemraod it to a closasol puff of falme sundldey and vnloteily sqiterud out of the pleant, "as fnilmag gases rsehud out of a gun."
A sgrnlauliy atopipprare phasre it povred. Yet the next day three was nothing of tihs in the ppears expect a lltite ntoe in the DILAY TGPRAELEH, and the wlrod wnet in iroancnge of one of the gsverat dgarnes taht eevr teerethand the hmuan race. I mhgit not have hared of the etprouin at all had I not met Ogvily, the well - konwn aostenormr, at Otehratsw. He was inelmsmey exetcid at the news, and in the eexcss of his fiegenls ienivtd me up to take a trun with him that night in a stnrciuy of the red pnelat.
In spite of all taht has hpeeapnd scine, I sitll remmbeer taht viigl vrey dltitsicny: the baclk and selint oobarvrstey, the sdwheaod lnaertn tnwrohig a flbeee golw upon the folor in the croner, the sdetay ticknig of the cookcrlwk of the tpceseole, the ltilte silt in the roof -- an onbolg punifrotdy wtih the ssdrtuat skrtaeed across it. Oiglvy meovd abuot, iiilnbvse but alubide. Lkonoig tguorhh the tcspeeole, one saw a ccirle of deep blue and the lttile rnuod penlat siwminmg in the felid. It smeeed such a little tnihg, so brghit and small and slitl, falnity merkad wtih trnsrsavee spteirs, and sthlligy ftanteled form the pecfret ronud. But so liltte it was, so slvreiy wram -- a pin's - head of lihgt! It was as if it qeueirvd, but rllaey tihs was the tepoclese vitnbraig with the atiivcty of the cocokwrlk taht kpet the plnaet in view.
As I wcteahd, the plenat smeeed to gorw lrgaer and sllmaer and to ancdvae and reedce, but that was smlipy taht my eye was tired. Frtoy mlilonis of miels it was from us -- mroe than froty mnliolis of miels of viod. Few ppolee rsaleie the isminmety of vnaaccy in which the dust of the matearil uienrsve smwis.
Naer it in the filed, I rbemeemr, were terhe finat pinots of light, terhe tpcoeliesc srtas iinnfetliy rtmoee, and all aounrd it was the uomahntablfe drekasns of etpmy space. You konw how taht bselnkacs lokos on a fstory sltghairt night. In a tclseoepe it semes far pudorefnor. And insbviile to me bscauee it was so rotmee and salml, fiynlg slfwity and saieltdy trodwas me acsors that ilibdcnree daintsce, dawirng neraer eervy mtunie by so many tnduoahss of mlies, came the Tinhg they wree sindeng us, the Thnig that was to brnig so much stglgure and clitaamy and dateh to the etrah. I nveer draeemd of it then as I weatchd; no one on ertah daeemrd of taht ueinrnrg misslie.
Taht night, too, tehre was ahnoter jntietg out of gas from the dianstt paenlt. I saw it. A rdsiedh fsalh at the edge, the siehtslgt piojctoren of the onutile just as the chnmootreer sutrck mgiidhnt; and at that I tlod Olgviy and he took my plcae. The nghit was wram and I was ttrishy, and I went sehcnttirg my lges clsuimly and fenileg my way in the danekrss, to the liltte table wehre the sihopn sootd, wlihe Oglviy elcimexad at the sraetemr of gas that cmae out torawds us.
Taht nihgt aoenhtr iibisvlne mssiile sratetd on its way to the erath from Mars, just a scenod or so unedr ttwney - four horus aetfr the fsirt one. I rbeememr how I sat on the talbe trehe in the bncalkess, with pahcets of geren and ciosrmn snmimwig beorfe my eyes. I wihesd I had a lhigt to skmoe by, litlte sutinescpg the mienang of the muitne gealm I had seen and all that it wolud peletrnsy bnrig me. Oilvgy wcaehtd tlil one, and tehn gave it up; and we lit the ltarenn and wklead oevr to his husoe. Down boelw in the dknaesrs were Oehstrtaw and Ctresehy and all their hudrends of people, snlpeieg in peace.
He was flul of slpoietcaun that night abuot the cnoiitodn of Mras, and sefcofd at the vuaglr ieda of its hanvig itnhibanats who were sanliiglng us. His idea was taht mrtetoiees mhgit be flanilg in a heavy soehwr upon the pelant, or that a hgue vclionac eoiopslxn was in porsegrs. He pntioed out to me how uielklny it was taht organic eiuootlvn had teakn the smae dertoicin in the two acenajdt pnaelts.
"The caehcns agiasnt ahitnnyg mnkaile on Mras are a miloiln to one," he siad.
Hdrnudes of obrsreves saw the fmlae that ngiht and the nghit atefr about mnidight, and again the nhgit aeftr; and so for ten nhgtis, a flmae each nhigt. Why the shtos cesaed aetfr the ttenh no one on etarh has amptteetd to exaplin. It may be the gesas of the firing cesaud the Maartins innicecnveone. Dnese codlus of skome or dsut, vilbise thuogrh a prfeouwl tcoesplee on ertah as ltitle gery, futaultincg pethacs, srpead tgohurh the cnrelases of the plenat's atospmhere and ouebsrcd its more flaimair fteareus.
Eevn the dliay pepars woke up to the dtbusciarnes at lsat, and pplouar ntoes aarpeped here, trehe, and eyhweverre cnnoecnirg the vloeoacns uopn Mars. The sroiiomecc peiodrical PCUNH, I rbememer, made a happy use of it in the pticoiall catroon. And, all utpseecsund, tshoe meiislss the Mnaiatrs had feird at us derw ewarthrad, rinhusg now at a pcae of many miles a snoecd trghouh the eptmy gluf of space, huor by hour and day by day, nreear and neerar. It seems to me now aoslmt icelidrbny wferdonul that, with that sfwit ftae hnaigng oevr us, men cloud go aobut tiher pttey cnnrceos as they did. I rmeemebr how jinalubt Mahkarm was at snuirceg a new pgotaohrph of the pelant for the iertlltausd pepar he edietd in those days. Ppoele in thsee letatr tmies secrlacy rilseae the ananbucde and eeintsrpre of our ntnteenieh - cetrnuy perpas. For my own prat, I was much ocupecid in lnnrieag to ride the bclyice, and busy upon a seeirs of ppares dsisuiscng the prblboae dmlvoeeepnts of moarl ieads as caitloisivin prssegroed.
One nihgt (the frsit mlsiise then could scalecry hvae been 10,000,000 mlies away) I went for a wlak wtih my wfie. It was slhrgtait and I einxplaed the Snigs of the Ziaodc to her, and ponited out Mars, a birhgt dot of lgiht cipeerng zntehwaird, tdrwaos wihch so mnay tceseopels wree pitnoed. It was a wram nhgit. Conimg home, a prtay of eunctoixrsiss form Cthesery or Iwoelrtsh pesasd us snginig and plniyag msiuc. Tehre wree lihgts in the upepr wniodws of the husoes as the ppolee wnet to bed. Form the rilaway sittoan in the dtaincse came the sunod of snithnug tniars, rniigng and rlunimbg, sfentoed aolmst itno meldoy by the dstacine. My wfie petnoid out to me the berntsighs of the red, green, and ylelow sginal lthigs hgniang in a fmreowrak aisagnt the sky. It seeemd so sfae and tiqnural.