What the heck was the sound in he kitchen?!?!
Perhaps that stairway Cole saw in the vortex is a doppleganger of the stairway in the Palmer house? Are the railings on opposite sides, like they would be if you looked at the staircase in a mirror? Perhaps that whole middle realm with the flowery wallpaper is a doppleganger of the Palmer house, but we only see a small part of it?
You wanna fly with the angels, you gotta rise with the Devil.