Has this ever really happened? Was this a real thing?
The only time I’ve ever heard of it has been in plays. It strikes me as a thing we theatre people WISH would happen when we put on plays. We’d like to imagine that our work has so much power that guilty creatures would overcome all bounds of propriety, stand up and confess. We’d be better than church that way. And put on even better shows.
But we live in a culture of stories now. A guilty person might not be able to get through a day without encountering a story related to the thing he’d done. Now, a murderer must be immune to this sort of thing if he hopes to get away with his crime. Perhaps, 400 years ago, it might catch you by surprise and trigger an involuntary confession muscle.