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The more prevalent images are popular because of the dark humor that many Internet denizens found with a Strangers With Candy Warnings Given To Children. Humorous images describing spooky vans, suggesting sexual assaults and abductions, spread via internet forums and image macros.
The oldest example of the most prevalent images on the Internet dates to 2006, though the origin story suggests that was two years after the initial van was defaced. The entire story behind The Most Common Image is that as far back as 2004, when my then-16-year-old son used that van for commuting to and from school.