Five patients developed mycotic spinal arachnoiditis-meningitis causing signs and symptoms of spinal cord neoplasm. Four had cryptococcal infection, the fifth had aspergillosis. In three patients, diagnosis was made at surgery; all three developed acute fungal meningitis postoperatively and two died. The diagnosis was made nonsurgically in two patients and was followed by medical cure. These five and twelve other reported patients with mycotic spinal arachnoiditis shared features that suggested the diagnosis. In contrast to most patients with spinal tumors, those reported here tended to be young (mean age, 32 years), to lack evidence for a primary tumor, and to have a fluctuating history of spinal symptoms for several months. Frequent associated findings were recent pregnancy; the abuse of alcohol, narcotics, or both; and the presence of headache and fever. Plain roentgenograms of the spine were normal. No single finding was diagnostic, but the combination of several would be rare with spinal tumor.