Help wiring 3 way Blue + Aux Switch with white found as the line and load in opposite location


I encountered a very odd wiring setup for this Blue Series + Aux on a 3 way.
The starting state was 3 way dumb switches. One of them which when off blocked the other from working so I did not really both too much with documenting the current state and figured I could just test them with the power on to figure out the correct setup.
The place where I would like the Blue to go,(Basement entrance) has the following setup:
Two blacks and one red wire. One black was hot when OFF and both blacks and red HOT while ON.
One of these blacks is the LOAD.
In the back of this box is a nest of white neutrals that I can use with the extension for my neutral.

The other location has one black, one red and one white. But that is where this gets crazy.
In my test, the WHITE is always HOT! So basically, there is no actual neutral.

I would prefer to have the Blue at the Basement entrance but with no HOT wires there, and no load on the other one, I am not sure what to do.

The best I could come up with is to make one of the blacks in the basement entrance hot by twisting the white(hot) and black together in the other location. This is how it was setup before but then for a Aux in the other location I have a Red traveler and no other wire to use as the “Neutral”.

I have attached a few photos of the setup to help.

Might be a switch loop with no neutral. Can’t tell without clearly seeing the wires in the second box.

here are the photos of the Basement Entrance Box the right is where this circuits switch should go.
I have it wire-nuted ON so that I can use the lights in the meantime.

I just realized I could borrow the line from the next switch over and then I would have all the wires I need for a neutral 3 way in the preferred location. But in the Aux location (single gang photo) I would use what as the neutral on the aux switch? Obviously not the hot white wire?

It does seem like your idea may be correct Peter that its a switch loop as I see the same black insulated wire in both boxes with Red,White,Black and bundled somewhere in the back, the ground.

Thanks for the suggestion that the wiring to the other location was a switch loop.
I managed to use a different wire for the line inside the preferred location and get the Blue series working fine as an On/Off but the aux does nothing.
I have the aux setup with the red for traveler and the white (I found where it was connected to hot and disconnected it and then I used the terminals on the blue to bridge it to the neutral I found the 3 gang box.
I am thinking if you have a neutral even if its burred in a bundle in the back of the box its better to use that and wired this up as a 3 way neutral.
This is my first Zigbee and its too far from the hub to pair (I have a ton more to install on the way to the hub). I am trying to do the up paddle plus 5 taps on config to configure the aux switch to work without success.


Thanks Peter again for the suggestion I was able to make this work by undoing the odd setup with a white as hot and install it as a neutral 3 way.
For some reason the manual configuration did not work but once I installed another Blue between the hub and this switch I was able to pair it and configure it in Hubitat correctly