Funeral Industry News

Pole Dancing in the Embalming Room?

October 23, 2014

Ryan Thogmartin is the CEO of DISRUPT Media | Follower of Christ | Husband | Father | Entrepreneur | Host of #DISRUPTu! and #FUNERALnationtv | Lover of Skittles DISRUPT Media is a social media content agency that focuses on storytelling for funeral companies. We use real stories to build creative strategies that achieve actual business goals.

Pole Dancing in the Embalming Room?

Apparently they do things differently in Northern Ireland….

Pole dance instructor Karen puts her pupils through a spooky dance of death in a coffin lined ‘studio’ that doubles up as an embalming room.

The Sunday World can lift the (coffin) lid on the creepy goings on at a nondescript warehouse in east Belfast where scantily clad dancers practice their routines in the company of coffins and body gurneys.

These shocking and ghoulish images show two girls practising for the All Ireland Pole Dancing Championships on the premises of the east Belfast business Simpson Embalming Services, used by funeral directors across Northern Ireland.


A whistle-blower contacted the Sunday World after making the chilling discovery that dance training takes place on the same premises used to prepare bodies for burial.

Video footage confirms that Simpson erected two poles in the main room of the small warehouse on the Alanbrook Industrial Estate to accommodate her award-winning performers.

The girls who were filmed repeatedly practising their impressive dance moves appear unfazed by the fact there is a coffin and medical gurney within arm’s reach.

Simpsons Embalming Services, which is owned by Karen, assists funeral directors by preparing bodies for burial. Karen and her husband run the business with the help of one member of staff.

Between them they are on call 24/7, their service included picking up the bodies of those who have recently passed away, transporting them to their warehouse/dance studio, embalming the bodies before returning them to funeral homes.

“The video clearly shows two girls pole dancing in front of a coffin in the embalming business in Belfast.

“They obviously have little or no respect for the grieving families or funeral directors who employ their services let alone that of the dead who are left in their care,” the whistle-blower told the Sunday World.

“I think it is a complete disgrace that these graphic dance shows are carried out in full view of someone’s coffin let alone in a supposed sanitised place that is used for embalming procedures on the dead bodies of peoples loved ones,” the source added.

Sources insist Simpsons Embalming Services should be investigated by the Association of Funeral Directors and Belfast City Council.

“This is absolutely shocking, there is no reason in the world whatsoever that this should have happened.

“This is the same as a morgue letting people in off the street to do whatever they please.

“It cannot be proved that there was a body in the coffin but from the footage and the obvious ease of the girls that this was not a one of and with that it would be safe to say that the probability that these dance practises took place when there were bodies on the premises and strong possibility.

“This is wrong on so many levels. If I had entrusted a dead relative to this company and discovered that this was going on I would be broken hearted. Where is the respect and the sense of decency?” a source added.

This week the Sunday World visited the premises and saw the dance area, surrounded by coffins.

The video was uploaded to Facebook by Nikki Ruddy Pole Kittens at 3.20pm on September 15 last month the night after the All Ireland Pole Dancing Championships.

“I thought id put one of our run throughs up so you can c what was actually supposed to happen last night!lol” the post read.

Karen Simpson commented: “Youse worked so hard on that move it was your easiest one ffs ironic!!”

As well as the profitable embalming business, which earns her over £100,000 per year she owns Karen Pole Kittens NI which has premises on the Woodstock Road in Belfast.

Last night when confronted by the Sunday World Karen Simpson denied all knowledge.

“I know nothing about this. I really don’t know what you are talking about. I’ll have to look into this because I really don’t know what you are talking about,” Karen Simpson claimed despite commenting on the video clip of Facebook last month.