Unexplained events in Upstate New York have been reported throughout the years, from strange noises and lights to ghostly sightings and eerie encounters. From the mysterious Marcy Street Hotel to the haunted Old Stone House in Syracuse, these stories have become part of local folklore. Whether or not these tales are true, one thing is certain: paranormal activity in Upstate New York is something to behold. Every so often, a new story surfaces with an eyewitness account of a strange event or an encounter with an otherworldly being. These stories, combined with the long history of the region, make it an intriguing place for anyone looking to explore the mysterious and unexplained. Just ask the Void Between Worlds investigative team. The team, which travels to different haunted locations throughout the region, has encountered many strange occurrences and come face-to-face with the paranormal.
In 2020, Cyrus and Kayla Portal established Void Between Worlds (VBW) in upstate New York. In light of the ever-present question of "what happens after death," Kayla and her wife Cyrus decided to explore haunted locations together as a way to explore the unknown after life. Kayla and Cyrus spent their honeymoon in Salem, MA. There, they visited Proctor's Ledge and paid respect to those who lost their lives during the witch trials. Due to their belief that there is more to life than just our world, they developed the name Void Between Worlds; at times, they believe the veil between the spiritual realm and the physical world is thin enough to allow spirits and vibrational beings to connect with each other. The choice of depicting a Portal behind the letters in the logo represents a doorway into another realm; each time they conduct an investigation, it is as if they are peering into another realm. Christopher P. Cranch, an American poet, wrote: “We are spirits clad in veils.” The phrase conveys the idea that humans are continually attempting to uncover the mysteries of life; this is true of the VBW team as well.
An empathetic old soul, Cyrus knew early on that she was destined for a career in human services and a life of advocacy for both the living and the departed. But the fate of her future as a paranormal investigator was definitely sealed by an experience she, her mother, and her sister had in 2015 in an antique shop where they heard the disembodied voice of a woman giggling while facing a room filled with mirrors (known to be portals). Mirrors are often seen as portals to another realm: the spirit world. This experience solidified Cyrus's belief that she could not only help the living, but also the dead, and that she could use her investigative skills to help bridge the gap between them. She also began her journey into dark tourism. Dark tourism is the practice of visiting sites associated with death, tragedy, or suffering. It can be used to explore the darker side of history, and to gain a better understanding of the consequences of war, violence, and trauma.
As a result of her analytical mind, Kayla excels in business and finance, as well as being a natural skeptic, a characteristic that is essential to the success of the team. Her first encounter with the paranormal occurred at the age of 18; this was a very personal account of a voicemail that her sister had received from their grandfather. In this particular instance, her grandfather was leaving a casual voicemail, but with an unexplained second voice in the background. Their grandmother, who passed away ten years earlier, was heard faintly, yet clearly stating, “Jessica (her sister), I love you.” Before this voicemail took place, Jessica and her grandfather discussed their wish that she could inform them that she (grandmother) is aware that they truly miss and love her. Naturally, this piqued Kayla’s interest and continues to ignite her curiosity.
In 2022, Kayla and Cyrus' niece, Bianca Rodriguez, and her fiancé, Aiden Jimenez, joined the team. As an aspiring writer, Bianca attends college while working in client relations alongside Aiden. Her "imaginary friend" can be credited with her interest in the paranormal from the age of seven, a friend who turned out to be the spirit of a little girl who had tragically passed away in the area in which Bianca lived. Her partner Aiden was no stranger to the unexplained early in life, as well. His experiences have included cabinet doors opening and closing seemingly on their own, phantom footsteps, and once he heard someone or something mimicking the voice of his mother calling to him. And more recently, he was suddenly confronted by a shadowy figure that produced a sensation of static electricity. Aiden's response to these occurrences has been not to shy away, but to embrace the unknown, eager to discover what lies beyond his current understanding.
Together, the team begins their research by first researching the history and details of the location of an investigation from scholarly and reputable sources. This ensures that the team is well-informed of the history of the location and any potential paranormal activity associated with it. With this knowledge, the team is then able to create an environment that is conducive to spirit communication and can identify any potential triggers that may encourage spirits to communicate. They use their findings to encourage any lingering spirits to communicate with them via spirit boxes, EVP sessions, trigger objects, and the Estes Method. Every piece of evidence collected is thoroughly examined to rule out reasonable explanations before claiming an unexplainable event. They plan to soon employ their newest piece of equipment, the Paratek V4. There are three modes on this AppyDroid device that generate sentences: word mode, yes/no mode, and Oracle board mode.
VBW is an LGBTQIA+ team with a passion for exploring the unknown and understands that LGBTQIA+ representation in the paranormal community is imperative.
Thus far, they have surveyed many of the most paranormally active spots in the New York region, including Rolling Hills Asylum, The Hinsdale House, Mid Orange Correctional Facility, Fort William Henry, Old Fort House Museum and multiple cemeteries. Aside from their traditional visits to local cemeteries to honor the deceased, this year's itinerary consists of White Hill Mansion in New Jersey, Thompson Park in Watertown, NY, Letchworth Village in Theills, NY and a returning visit to the Mid Orange Correctional Facility. One of Kayla's personal favorite investigations took place at the correctional facility when they received numerous responses to yes and no questions by way of a flashlight. Bianca and Aiden have also had memorable experiences there, making it one of their favorite locations. In an Estes Method session, Aiden was addressed by name and greeted by a spirit, and a spirit played with Bianca's hair.
For more on Void Between Worlds, you can find them on both Instagram and TikTok @VoidBetweenWorlds or you may email them at VoidBetweenWorlds@gmail.com.