"There is nothing."
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The も after interrogative pronouns like in 何も (also in いつも, だれも, どこも, probably others) has a different function to the も used after nouns generally to mean "also". In this case with a negative verb 何も expresses the concept of "anything", so 「何もありません」 means literally "there is not anything" or equivalently "there is nothing". Similarly いつも expresses "anytime" with a negative verb, だれも expresses "anybody" with a negative verb, etc. Some of the interrogatives+も (but not 何も for some reason) can also be used with positive verbs and in those cases expresses the complete category e.g. "always", "everybody".
You are correct, and there are reasons, but it's long winded grammar theory along with just old assocations between certain words and negative sentences in Japanese. Sort of like how in English we can say "I don't like it at all" but we CAN'T say "I like it at all". It's a negative polarity thing if you want to look it up.
For positive sentences, you CAN use 何でも however!
On its own, ありません just means "there isn't". That's not the same as "there isn't anything" (there is nothing). For example, if someone asks you 「カバンにペンがありますか？」(is there a pen in (your) bag?) you could answer 「ありません」(there isn't.) If you instead answered 「何もありません」 (there isn't anything) the meaning is very different, as though your bag is completely empty.
何も is considered an expression/adverb
There is actually already an active particle present, the inclusion particle も "also, too" which gives it the inclusive "every, no" meaning when combined with a question word
何も - everything/ nothing (neg)
誰も - everyone/ noone (neg)
どこも - everywhere/ nowhere (neg)
いつも - every time/always / never (neg)